SC to tackle case vs ABS-CBN on March 10

Jove Moya

THE Supreme Court (SC) en banc will tackle the quo warranto petition lodged by Solicitor General Jose Calida against television network ABS-CBN on March 10, an official said on Wednesday, February 26.

“This is to give the justices time to go over the pleadings submitted by the parties, including the comments recently filed by the respondents,” said SC public information officer Chief Brian Keith Hosaka.

Calida filed the petition on February 10, 2020, asking the Supreme Court to revoke the network's legislative franchise.

Calida accused the network of abusing its franchise by operating a pay-per-view channel in ABS-CBN TV Plus, the KBO Channel, without prior approval or permit from the National Telecommunications Commission.

Calida also said ABS-CBN violated the constitutional restriction on foreign ownership of mass media.

Under Section 11, Article 16 of the Philippine Constitution, the ownership and management of mass media must only be owned by citizens of the Philippines.

ABS-CBN has refuted the allegations saying that it complied with all pertinent laws governing its franchise and secured all necessary government and regulatory approvals for its business operations.

The House of Representatives will deliberate on 12 pending bills seeking to extend ABS-CBN's license to operate either in May or August yet.

According to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, the network's franchise will expire on May 4, 2020, not on March 30, 2020 as the network earlier claimed.

Guevarra explained during a Senate hearing on February 24 that although the 25-year franchise was granted on March 30, 1995, it took effect only 15 days after it was published.

Publication date was April 19, 1995, Guevarra said.

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has said that the ABS-CBN franchise bills are not urgent because the network can operate until 2022.

The network earned President Rodrigo Duterte's ire after it failed to air some of the President's ads as a presidential candidate during the 2016 elections. Duterte also got hurt when the network aired a video that allegedly maligned him, according to his former aide Senator Christopher "Bong" Go. (SunStar Philippines)