ABS-CBN is standing by its report that the franchise of Bohol Chronicle Radio Corp. (BCRC) has been in existence for over 50 years, despite being a 29-year-old corporation.

On Twitter, ABS-CBN reporter Mike Navallo said BCRC’s franchise was initially granted on July 24, 1966 through Republic Act 4792, or “An Act Granting Zoilo Dejaresco, Jr., a Franchise to Construct, Maintain and Operate Television and Radio Broadcasting Stations in the Province of Bohol.”

READ: Bohol radio broadcaster clarifies: ‘We’ve been in existence for only 29 years’

The top media network’s report implied that Marcoleta was accusing ABS-CBN of practices that he had condoned for franchise applicants in the past. Marcoleta was one of the authors of the 2019 bill that renewed BCRC’s franchise.

Marcoleta argues that broadcast entities that had operated franchises for 50 years were not entitled to a new franchise under Section 11 Article XII of the 1987 Constitution, a position disputed by ABS-CBN and other lawmakers, such as Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez and Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman.

Navallo said the BCRC franchise indeed originated from the 1966 law, but was granted a 25-year extension in 1992 after being transferred by Zoilo Dejaresco, Jr. to what is now the BCRC.

Navallo reported that the renewal of the franchise was granted through Republic Act No. 7634, whose long title is “An Act Authorizing the Transfer and Assignment to the Bohol Chronicle Radio Corporation of the Franchise to Construct, Operate and Maintain Television and Radio Broadcasting Stations in the Province of Bohol Granted Under Republic Act Numbered Forty-Seven Hundred and Ninety-Two to Zoilo Dejaresco, Jr. and All the Properties and Rights Acquired Thereunder of Zoilo Dejaresco, Jr., and Renewing the Terms of the Said Franchise to Another Twenty-Five (25) Years From the Date of Effectivity of This Act.”

ABS-CBN’s report on June 3 listed BCRC, GMA Network, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, Rajah Broadcasting Network and Associated Broadcasting Co. or TV5 as companies that secured their first franchises more than 50 years ago.

The BCRC legal counsel, in a June 10 column, said the ABS-CBN report “falsely drag innocent fellow-broadcast networks” to the controversy of the top-media network’s franchise issue.

Marcoleta is among pro-administration lawmakers seeking to foil ABS-CBN’s bid to get a new franchise. John Ezekiel J. Hirro