Photo from Wikicommons
MANILA, Philippines – The bills renewing the franchises of TV5 Network Incorporated and the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) lapsed into law on April 22, according to copies of the laws from Malacañang.
The Palace sent media copies of the laws 3 months after, on Thursday, July 18.
The laws lack President Rodrigo Duterte's signature and bears a stamp stating that they had lapsed into law on April 22.
Bill renewing franchise of TV5 lapses into law. See last page of law lacking President Rodrigo Duterte's signature. @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/3u36uPFOHc — Pia Ranada (@piaranada) July 18, 2019
President Duterte also lets bill renewing CBCP franchise lapse into law. @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/jawfP6P2ya — Pia Ranada (@piaranada) July 18, 2019
This means TV5 Network, which operates the TV5 television station and Radyo Singko, gets to operate for another 25 years. CBCP can also operate radio or television stations throughout the country for another 25 years.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo could not explain why Duterte did not sign the bill. He said in the Thursday press conference that Duterte probably did not object to TV5's franchise renewal, hence he allowed it to lapse into law.
Meanwhile, the CBCP is led by Duterte's friend, Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles even as it includes among its officers priests who have been highly critical of the President. This includes Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, who himself has been a subject of Duterte's rants and threats.
A president can either sign a law, veto it entirely or in part, or not act on it until it lapses into law.
Observers are closely watching the government's moves on the franchise renewal of network ABS-CBN, which Duterte has frequently railed against for supposedly "biased" reporting and for supposedly not airing his political advertisements as 2016 presidential candidate when his campaign team had paid for them.
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.