Examine: Assertion of Solicitor-Normal Jose Calida on the denial of the renewal of Abdominal muscles-CBN’s franchise

READ: Statement of Solicitor-General Jose Calida on the denial of the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise

And now, the close has occur.

On July 10 2020, immediately after a collection of comprehensive hearings, the Property of Representatives’ Committee on Legislative Franchises denied the renewal of Abs-CBN’s franchise with an mind-boggling 70 affirmative votes in favor of the “Resolution Denying the Franchise Application of Abdominal muscles-CBN Company to Build, Put in, Set up, Operate, and Preserve Radio and Broadcasting Stations in the Philippines,” as from 11 who voted in the destructive.

The 1987 Constitution vests upon Congress the sole electric power to review and approve franchises of general public utilities. For that reason, Abdominal muscles-CBN’s application for a franchise to run entirely depended on Congress’ assessment as to no matter if it is deserving of the privilege to use the airwaves of the State. Legitimate to its mandate, Congress endeavored to objectively appraise Abs-CBN’s qualifications as an applicant for a franchise by way of the hearings done.

The choice of the Property of Reps Committee on Legislative Franchises to deny the franchise application of Ab muscles-CBN was arrived at just after a extensive, exhaustive, and painstaking thought of all arguments. 

Throughout the 13 hearings, the community was witness to the grueling interpellations created by members of the joint committee on Abdominal muscles-CBN’s executives and lawyers as nicely as on the resource people from various governing administration agencies like the Office of Justice, the Bureau of Immigration, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, amongst other individuals.

In the course of each individual of these hearings, Congress heard testimonies, been given proof, and meticulously deliberated on the next troubles raised versus Stomach muscles-CBN: (a) overseas citizenship of its Chairman Emeritus, Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III (b) issuance of Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDRs) to foreigners which allowed foreign possession in Abs-CBN (c) illegal return of its assets to the Lopez relatives immediately after martial legislation (d) violation of its former franchise by operating a pay out-per-see channel in its Abs-CBN Television set Plus (the KBO Channel) without having prior acceptance or allow from the Countrywide Telecommunications Commission (e) its unauthorized use of AMCARA’s legislative franchise (f) labor law violations (g) tax avoidance strategies and (f) biased reporting, inappropriate system information, and political meddling. 

Abdominal muscles-CBN Corporation was presented entire and affordable possibility to refute all of these. 

Ab muscles-CBN’s violations were being earlier introduced to the awareness of the public by the OSG. It ought to be recalled that on February 10, 2020, the OSG submitted a petition for quo warranto at the Supreme Court docket to forfeit the legislative franchises of Stomach muscles-CBN Corporation and its subsidiary, Ab muscles-CBN Convergence, Inc. The quo warranto petition showed that Ab muscles-CBN has been broadcasting for a charge, which is over and above the scope of its legislative franchise. Ab muscles-CBN also abused the privilege granted by the State when it released and operated the KBO Channel, a pay out-for every-look at channel in Abdominal muscles-CBN Television As well as, without prior approval or allow from the governing administration. Additional, Stomach muscles-CBN issued PDRs to foreigners, in gross violation of the international possession restriction on mass media below Part 11, Posting XVI of the Constitution.

The Committee on Legislative Franchises affirmed the allegations found in the OSG’s quo warranto petition. Its Committee Resolution confirmed that Abs-CBN violated its franchise when it launched and operated its KBO channel devoid of prior approval or allow from the NTC. The Resolution also found that Abs-CBN allows foreign regulate more than their corporation as a result of its issuance of PDRs. Portion 11, Article XVI of the 1987 Constitution boundaries ownership and management of mass media solely to Filipino citizens.

It is worthy of remembering that when confronted with the prospect of owning its franchise annulled via a quo warranto petition ahead of the Supreme Court docket, Abdominal muscles-CBN insisted on the exceptional prerogative of Congress to withdraw a franchise. Stomach muscles-CBN preserved that the Supreme Court docket should really deny the quo warranto petition so as not to pre-empt Congress’ training of this sort of ability. Ab muscles-CBN then classified the situation of the validity of a legislative franchise as a political dilemma that is beyond the purview of judicial assessment. Yesterday, the Committee on Legislative Franchises answered this political problem in a resounding and categorical style: Abdominal muscles-CBN is not entitled to a renewed legislative franchise. Via the Committee, the Congress has spoken, and the nation is all-ears.

Indeed, Congress, via the joint committees, not only exercised its constitutional mandate, but also fulfilled Speaker Alan Peter S. Cayetano’s promise to the Filipino people that “the hearings [would] be honest, neutral, comprehensive and complete,” and that “[a]ll voices [would] be read and all problems for and against [would] be mentioned.” 

Congress has done its position effectively. We salute Speaker Cayetano, Deputy Speaker Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla, Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta, Committee on Legislative Franchises Chair Rep. Franz Alvarez, Rep. Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado, Rep. Mike Defensor, Rep. Elpidio Barzaga, and all those people who voted in favour of the Committee Resolution for their management and integrity.

The granting of a legislative franchise is a privilege, not a appropriate. Congress has ascertained that Abdominal muscles-CBN is unworthy of a legislative franchise, and its choice will have to be accorded regard. The denial of Abdominal muscles-CBN’s franchise are not able to be characterized as a restraint on independence of expression or of the push for the reason that the primordial effect of this sort of denial is the upholding of the constitutional provision and legislation governing media firms like Abdominal muscles-CBN. Congress has performed its responsibility beneath the Structure, and by its motion, the rule of legislation has been upheld.

Justice has been served.

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