Published: Thu, February 13, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

SolGen asks SC to revoke ABS-CBN franchise

SolGen asks SC to revoke ABS-CBN franchise

Duterte's opponents said the complaint was timed to deny Congress the chance to renew the franchise of ABS-CBN, which employs almost 7,000 people and engages hundreds of celebrities in radio, television and online content.

Calida added that the broadcasting firm "abused" the privilege granted by the State when it launched and operated a pay-per-view channel in ABS-CBN TV Plus, the KBO Channel, without prior approval or permit from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

Section 11 (1), Article 16 of the 1987 Constitution provides that the ownership and management of mass media "shall be limited to citizens of the Philippines, or to corporations, cooperatives or associations, wholly-owned and managed by such citizens". "And the president does not meddle in it", presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said in an interview on Quezon City-based DZMM Radyo Patrol.

"We have issued our statement on the Solicitor General's accusations, and as directed, we will submit a more detailed response to the Supreme Court within the prescribed period", the statement further said.

In a speech during a visit to quake victims in M'lang town, Cotabato province in December, the president railed against the TV network, whose franchise will lapse on March 30, this year.

Duterte has been critical of ABS-CBN, and even taunted its owners in December to sell the network, according to Agence France-Presse.

HANDS OFF Malacañang, meanwhile, said that Calida's quo warranto petition has nothing to do with President Rodrigo Duterte's previous public pronouncement against the network. "I will make sure that you will remember this episode of our times forever".

"We can not deprive the president as a citizen of this country to express himself", he said.

Jojo Riñoza  BenarNews
Jojo Riñoza BenarNews

Since becoming president in 2016, Duterte has expressed his disdain towards the television network, which is owned by one of the richest families in the Philippines.

The attempt to shut down Rappler, however, appear to have fizzled after the news site's foreign investors transferred their shares to their Filipino partners.

Calida lodged the petition as a very urgent omnibus motion against the network and its subsidiary, just 49 days before the expiration of its 25-year franchise.

Vice-President Maria Leonor G. Robredo said the process of the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN should be monitored.

"We reiterate that everything we do is in accordance with the law".

"If it's your duty to sue entities who violated the law, you should do so and let the courts decide on your complaint", he said.

Defend Job Philippines also urged President Duterte to resolve its rift with the ABS-CBN management in proper venues and must stop using the legislative franchise and the job security issue of ABS-CBN workers as hostage to his plans of going after the TV network. This is not just about the Philippine media. "This is about whether anyone can or should deprive you, the Filipino people, of your right to know". "We call on our Supreme Court Justices to side with the people's right to truthful and independent news, the Constitution and democracy", FOCAP said.

"Philippine legislators have a responsibility to uphold media freedom and resist administration efforts to pressure news outlets to toe the government's line", said Carlos Conde, Philippines researcher.

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