MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday ordered the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and Congress to comment on the petition filed by the ABS-CBN Corporation, challenging the cease and desist order that forced the network to go off the air earlier this May.
In a statement, the SC Public Information Office (PIO) said the magistrates gave the NTC 10 days from receipt of the notice to respond to the petition.
The NTC was named as the only respondent to ABS-CBN’s petition but the SC said it separately impleaded the Senate and the House of Representatives as parties to the case and required them to comment on the petition, stated the press briefer posted by the SC on its Twitter account.
READ: Press Briefer for 19 May 2020 pic.twitter.com/noY5jMW7eB
— Supreme Court Public Information Office (PIO) (@SCPh_PIO) May 19, 2020
The High Court also gave the NTC five days to reply to the comments to be filed by the Senate and the House.
The SC PIO said these actions were unanimously approved by the 14 SC Justices during an En Banc session on Tuesday.
The SC did not issue a temporary restraining order, as requested by the ABS-CBN in its petition, against the implementation of NTC’s closure order which it claims was issued without notice and hearing.
The NTC issued a shutdown order against ABS-CBN after its franchise expired on May 4.
In its petition, the media company argued that the NTC acted with grave abuse of discretion and violated its rights to equal protection and due process by issuing the order.
The company claimed that the NTC should have deferred to Congress that have earlier sent a formal letter asking the agency to allow ABS-CBN to continue operating while bills seeking for its franchise renewal remain pending in the House of Representatives.
It also asked the SC to nullify and set aside the cease and desist order which directed the network to stop the broadcast operations of its television and radio stations on May 5.
The SC PIO also confirmed that the High Court denied the motion of lawyer Lorenzo Gadon to consolidate his petition – which sought for the NTC to be prevented from issuing a provisional authority to ABS-CBN – with the plea of the network.
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