Poe wants consensus on SMNI franchise revocation

THE committee on public services chaired by Senator Grace Poe shall seek a consensus on the proposed franchise revocation of Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) once the bill is transmitted to the Senate and referred to the panel.

The House of Representatives approved Wednesday the bill revoking the legislative franchise granted to Swara Sug Media Corporation, that operates SMNI.

“On this, we will always be guided by the principle that a franchise is a privilege and that grantees should always abide by the tenets of fairness and public welfare,” Poe said in a statement on Thursday.

She explained that the appropriate manner of effecting franchise revocation is through a repeal of the franchise law.

“Thus, the repealing statute must undergo the same legislative process as when a bill is passed into law,” she added.

However, Poe pointed out that the franchise bill has never been listed as a priority, so she has to defer to the Senate leadership on the pace of its disposition.

“To my knowledge, this is the first instance that a proposal for a franchise revocation has made significant progress in Congress. We should subject this to utmost study and scrutiny as this shall set a precedent for future legislative franchises,” she said.

“Whether it’s a constitutional amendment or a legislative franchise, the Senate prioritizes measures according to the needs of the country. The people set the deadline. We just listen,” she added.

A total of 284 congressmen voted in favor of House Bill No. 9710 which seeks to repeal Republic Act No. 11422 or the law granting SMNI its 25-year legislative franchise.