NTC seeks DOJ view on ABS-CBN issue

February 20, 2020

THE Department of Justice (DOJ) has been asked by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to issue a legal opinion on whether television giant ABS-CBN can still be allowed to operate once its franchise expires in March.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra revealed this yesterday, adding “the department is already acting on it.”

“We got it last Tuesday afternoon and we hope to reply by next week,” Guevarra said. He failed to give details on NTC’s request.

Last February 10, a “Very Urgent Omnibus Motion” which was personally filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida,  urged the Supreme Court to forfeit the franchises of ABS-CBN and ABS-CBN Convergence, Inc., saying “they are unlawfully exercising their legislative franchises.”

Also, the OSG stressed the petition was meant to stop the alleged “abusive practices” of ABS CBN.

“We want to put an end to what we discovered to be highly abusive practices of ABS-CBN benefitting a greedy few at the expense of millions of its loyal subscribers. These practices have gone unnoticed or were disregarded for years,” Calida said in a statement.

The ABS-CBN franchise is set to expire this March, and bills are pending before the Senate and House of Representatives seeking its intention.

On numerous occasions President Duterte threatened to block the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise, accusing the network of biased reporting and railing against its failure to air his political advertisement during the 2016 campaign.

Under the 1987 Constitution, the granting of a franchise to television and radio companies is a power lodged in Congress

International group Human Rights Watch decried President Duterte’s moves blocking the franchise renewal, taking it as a curtailment of press freedom. The group added that lawmakers should remain “independent” from the President’s whims.