ABS-CBN: Will history repeat itself?
This is in connection with the Inquirer’s editorial titled “Smelly plan” (1/22/20).
Contrary to popular belief, President Duterte cannot shut down the entertainment and media giant ABS-CBN, whose broadcasting franchise will expire two months from now. Under Section 24, Article VI of the Constitution, private bills, among others, shall originate exclusively in the House of Representatives. Private bills are those that affect purely private interest (bills granting a franchise is one example).
The exclusivity of the prerogative of the House simply means that the House alone can initiate the passage of a private bill. This goes to say that if the House does not initiate one, then no private bill will be passed into law. But once the House has approved a private bill and passed it on to the Senate, the Senate may propose or concur with amendments. Hence, the fate of the thousands of workers who may lose their job upon ABS-CBN’s putative closure is in the hands of the 329 lawmakers (305 members of the House plus 24 members of the Senate).
Note that a bill becomes a law when 1) the President signs it; 2) the President vetoes it but the veto is overridden by two-thirds vote of all the members of each House; and 3) the President does not act upon the bill within 30 days after it was presented to him.
Needless to say, Mr. Duterte is under the executive department of the government. It is the President’s duty to make sure that the laws are faithfully executed. Pursuant to the principle of checks and balances, he cannot encroach upon the powers of the legislative department.
During the Marcos regime, ABS-CBN was closed down. Will history repeat itself? Abangan ang susunod na kabanata.
LEONARD KRISTIAN MESA GELACIO, [email protected]
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