Malacañang on Friday insisted on its “neutrality” on ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal application in reaction to the vote of a House committee to deny the network a broadcast franchise.

In a statement, Palace spokesman Harry Roque said the decision of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises was the “sole prerogative” of Congress, recognized by executive branch.

“The Palace has maintained a neutral stance on the issue as it respects the separation of powers between the two co-equal branches of government,” Roque said,

“Much as we want to work with the aforesaid media network, we have to abide by the resolution of the House committee,” he added.

The House panel, packed by Duterte allies, voted to decline ABS-CBN’s application for a fresh 25-year franchise.

In December 2019, Duterte said he “will see to it” that ABS-CBN will not be granted a new franchise for not airing his TV advertisements during the 2016 election period and its supposed “biased” reporting.

ABS-CBN President and CEO Carlo Katigbak, on Feb. 24, apologized to Duterte over the airing a political ad that questioned Duterte’s behavior and reactions by children to his expletive-laden speeches.

Duterte accepted the apology and but left the fate of the network’s franchise to Congress.

Only ABS-CBN’s digital platforms continue to operate after its free-to-air channels, Sky Direct and TVPlus broadcast in Metro Manila were ordered to cease and desist by the country’s national telecommunications regulator.