Cayetano tells Poe to ‘chill’ on the ‘chilling effect’ of ABS-CBN's franchise denial

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 14) - House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano told Senator Grace Poe on Tuesday to just chill after the latter said that the denial of franchise to ABS-CBN would be a “dangerous precedent” to franchise applications by other media outlets.

Poe said in a statement last week that the decision of the House of Representatives not to renew the television giant’s legislative franchise might affect the franchise applications of those who use Philippine Depository Receipts, tax schemes, and digital platforms. These were also the same issues thrown at ABS-CBN during the 12 sessions of hours-long deliberations in the chamber.

READ: Poe calls for strengthening of media as ABS-CBN franchise decision may send out ‘warning’ to other agencies 

 Cayetano defended that the “chilling effect” of the franchise denial only applies to those who “abuse the system.”

“I agree with Sen. Grace Poe that the denial of the Lopez’s franchise application for ABS-CBN sets a precedent,” he said in a Facebook post. “And it is precisely the precedent we want to make - that the House of Representatives will never tolerate anyone, including oligarchs, who will abuse the system and cheat both the government and our people.”

He added that the franchise applications of other broadcasting networks like GMA and TV-5 were easily approved because he claimed that they never served the business interest of their owners.

“That is because their exercise of the freedom of speech and of the Press, was never employed to mask the corporate practices of their owners that screwed the system and our people - to the tune of billions of pesos,” said Cayetano.

The House Speaker also said that these networks never played as “Kingmaker or Kingslayer” in their election coverages.

READ: Cayetano warns ‘big business’ could use media to protect own interest 

Cayetano advised Poe and even Vice President Leni Robredo to rewatch the hearings and read again the findings of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises.

“Chill ka lang (Just chill) Sen[ator] Grace. Our country is on the right track,” he said.