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House bill seeking to revoke SMNI franchise approved on final reading
House bill seeking to revoke SMNI franchise approved on final reading
Nation
House bill seeking to revoke SMNI franchise approved on final reading
by Ellicia Del Mundo21 March 2024
DZRH file photo

The proposed bill seeking to revoke the legislative franchise of Swara Sug Media Corporation, operating under the business name Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI), was passed on the third and final reading in the House of Representatives.

House Bill (HB) 9710 was approved with 284 affirmative votes, four negative votes, and four abstentions.

Duterte Youth Party-List Rep. Drixie Cardema, Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte, Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and Kabataan Party-list Ron Salo voted "no" in passing HB 9710.

While Davao Occidental Rep. Claude Bautista, Rizal Rep. Jack Duavit, Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman, and Tutok win Party-list Rep. Samuel Verzosa abstained from voting.

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In explaining his "yes" vote, House Assitant Minority Leader and Camarines Sur 3rd District Rep. Gabriel Bordado underscored that freedom of the press and freedom of expression requires immense responsibility.

"When you trample or do away with this responsibility, however, then we transform freedom into systematic oppression and repression. As Sigmund Freud attested and I quote, 'Most people do not want freedom because freedom involves responsibility and most people are frightened of responsibility.' Therefore, I vote yes," he added.

Makabayan bloc members, Gabriella Women's Party Rep. Arlene Brosas, ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. France Castro, and Kabataan Party-List Rep. Raoul Manuel, respectively conveyed that SMNI's franchise should be revoked as it has been red-tagging and spreading disinformation against progressive individuals and groups.

Castro pointed out that former President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict have been using SMNI as a platform to target individuals without basis.

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HB 9710 seeks to revoke SMNI's legislative franchise due to alleged multiple violations such as failure to "deliver truthful and balanced reporting to its audience" and non-compliance with the reportial requirement.

To become a law, a similar bill must be filed in the House's counterpart, the Senate.

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