House Deputy Speaker and Batangas 6th District Representative Vilma Santos believes that ABS-CBN was treated "differently" during its franchise hearings.
Speaking to Karen Davila on ANC yesterday, July 13, the actress-turned-politician said that she was surprised at how the vote turned out, especially when some of the lawmakers suddenly withdrew their support to renew the network's franchise. After 13 hearings, the House Committee on Legislative Franchises ultimately decided to reject ABS-CBN's application last July 10.
“Maski ako nagulat din kasi may mga authors na umatras din bigla. So hindi ko masabi kung may mga lobbying,” Vilma said, who was among the 11 lawmakers who voted in favor of the renewal.
"Siyempre if you're part of the supermajority, kailangan in a way nakasuporta ka rin sa mga major na mga batas na ipatutupad," she explained. "But again, at the end of the day conscience vote. Hindi ko alam kung ano’ng nangyari sa iba."
Vilma also cited that it was the first time that a report from the Technical Working Group (TWG) only took one night to finish. She also received the TWG report just an hour before the voting, making it impossible for her to read the report in full.
"First time kong maka-ekspiryensya na isang TWG na natapos overnight," she revealed.
She then shared that the report "set aside" statements of compliance that government agencies had provided for ABS-CBN.
“Ang alam ko kasi parang na-set aside 'yung masasabi nating information na sinabi ng government agencies,” she said.
“Sinabi ng mga government agencies na wala silang nakitang nilabag na batas. Parang 'yun ang sa tingin ko—na-set aside, parang nagkaroon ng masyadong leaning doon sa parang mga against,” she added.
"This is something unusual sa limang taon ko na halos dito sa kongreso, parang first-time din ako naka-encounter ng ganyang klaseng hearing," she continued.
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