Philippines

SC sets next hearing on ABS-CBN plea on July 13

MANILA – The Supreme Court (SC) has set the next hearing on the petition filed by media network ABS-CBN seeking to void the cease and desist order which stopped its broadcast operations on July 13, Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta said Thursday. “It will be deliberated on July 13 because we waited for the comments of the House of Representatives, the lower and upper house and I think we only received the comments last Monday. I don’t know if the resolution will already be ready by then,” Peralta said in an online press conference.

Aside from the two houses of Congress, the high court earlier required the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) last month to file a comment on the petition filed by the broadcast firm.

It also directed the NTC to file a reply within a non-extendible period of five days from personal notice of the comments of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Solicitor General Jose Calida, who earlier filed a suit questioning the franchise granted to the broadcast firm, had welcomed the initiative in Congress in beginning the process of tackling whether or not a legislative franchise would be granted to ABS-CBN.

Calida said the move is consistent with the position of his office that a franchise is required to operate radio and television stations in the Philippines.

Congress has the exclusive and plenary power to grant a franchise, which must be specified in the form of a statute.

In a letter dated April 30, Calida advised the NTC that a provisional authority cannot be issued in the absence of a law mandating a legislative franchise.

Calida added that he agrees with House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano’s position “that ABS-CBN’s alleged violations must be investigated”. (PNA)

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