MANILA – A joint resolution seeking to extend ABS-CBN's franchise will compel the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to grant the network provisional permit to operate should it be passed, a lawmaker said Wednesday.
The resolution would be "non-debatable" and would amount to "allowing ABS-CBN to continue operations, according to Cebu Rep. Raul del Mar, who filed the joint resolution in Congress with Sen. Franklin Drilon last week.
"That cannot be questioned because that’s entirely a prerogative of Congress. That's not only a sentiment, it would practically be an unwritten order to NTC. This comes from Congress who has the right to decide to grant or reject (a franchise)," he told ANC's Early Edition.
"It would be compelling on the part of NTC to grant a provisional authority."
Del Mar said the resolution was a "quicker way" to extend the network's franchise as Congress is set to adjourn mid-March.
The House leadership should have "given extreme urgency to consider and decide the issue" on ABS-CBN's franchise, he added.
"(It is) precisely why we face the reality the committee won’t be able to finish its job. The quicker way to do it is filing that joint resolution which is less complicated and simpler to get it done in the committee and plenary. The basic issue is do we agree or no to extend your lease or franchise," he said.
"I could get signatures for co-authors but I expect we will have a more positive support if we just do away with getting signatures. Some people just don’t want to sign it but when the voting comes they vote for it."
Drilon earlier said the resolution would have the "force of law" should it be passed. However, it would need to go through 3 readings, a committee hearing, and requires the signature of President Rodrigo Duterte.
The senator also said he would file a concurrent resolution at the Senate urging NTC to grant ABS-CBN provisional authority. This, however, would not have the "force and effect of law," he said.