MANILA – House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano urged his colleagues to vote according to their conscience on the bills seeking to grant ABS-CBN a new franchise. Cayetano made the statement as members of the House committees on legislative franchises and good government and public accountability are set to vote today on whether to grant the network a fresh 25-year franchise. CAYETANO. RAPPLER “Ang Presidente naman po, ang sinabi niya the members of Congress can vote according to their conscience dahil siya naman po ay neutral,” Roque said in a virtual press conference. “From the start, we’ve been urging a conscience vote,” Cayetano said. “From the start we’ve been saying na kung ikaw ay pro [franchise renewal], open mo ‘yung mind mo dun sa mga umaangal. Kung ikaw ay isa sa umaangal, open your mind to ABS-CBN.” The ABS-CBN has been off the air since the National Telecommunications Commission issued a cease and desist order against the network following the expiration of its franchise on May 4./PN “This is one of the rare cases where representatives will decide for the people, but the people themselves also have a stand on this kaya kailangan maging sensitive din ang bawat isa,” he added. The Malacañang has made the same call as Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that President Rodrigo Duterte has maintained his “neutral” stand on the issue despite previously criticizing the network.