The decision to defer the Committee on Justice’s scheduled hearing on the ABS-CBN land title issue emanated from the House leadership.
Leyte 3rd district Rep. Vicente “Ching” Veloso III gave this explanation Wednesday during the Zoom-aided proceedings of the panel, which he chairs.
“[The hearing] has been postponed to a later date upon consultation and upon advice from the leadership. It was deemed prudent for the conclusion of the inquiries from the joint committees, the legislative franchises and good government and public accountability into the alleged violations by ABS-CBN of its franchise before further investigations be made on matters that stem from the said inquiries,” he said reading a prepared statement.
The land title issue was supposed to be tackled by the Veloso panel Wednesday by virtue of House Resolution No. 1058 filed last July 22 by Deputy Speaker and SAGIP Party-List Rep. Rodante Marcoleta. However, it was stricken off from the Committee’s agenda Tuesday.
“Our postponement of the consideration on the matter on this alleged illegal titles will avoid duplication, especially on conflicting findings of different committees of the House of Representatives, taking into account the complexity of the issues and allegations raised in the previous hearings of the joint committee,” said Veloso.
“In any case, we assure the honorable Marcoleta that once this committee gets the go signal of the leadership, we will leave no stone unturned in conducting this inquiry and investigation over this issue,” added the former Court of Appeals magistrate.
Veloso said the Department of Justice, the Office of the Solicitor General and the Land Registration Authority and the Registry of Deeds of Quezon City were also informed of the decision.
The Justice panel went on to discuss other items in its agenda Wednesday.
Marcoleta was among the handful of House members who aggressively argued against the granting of an operating franchise to television and radio giant ABS-CBN after the Lopez-owned company’s previous 25-year franchise lapsed last May 4.
On July 10, the Legislative Franchises panel approved a recommendation to junk ABS-CBN’s franchise application after holding a series of high-profile hearings with the Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability.
Marcoleta has said that a lot of other issues have come to light in the course of the joint panel hearings, and one of these is the question of authenticity of the land title where ABS-CBN’s offices and buildings are located.