MANILA – Solicitor-General Jose Calida said on Wednesday that Congress and not the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) should be blamed for the network’s shutdown.
“Why blame NTC when they are only following the law?” Calida, the Solicitor General said in a statement to the media.
“Without a valid and subsisting franchise from Congress, the NTC cannot allow any broadcasting entity from operating in the country,” he added, referring to the lapse of ABS-CBN Corporation’s franchise on May 4.
Calida claimed that the network franchise bill has been pending in Congress since 2016 and the lower house did not acted on it.
“Without a valid and subsisting franchise from Congress, the NTC cannot allow any broadcasting entity from operating in the country,” alida, the Solicitor General said
The franchise is granted by passing a bill approved by both chambers of Congress.
The Senate passed a resolution while the House Franchise Committee sent a letter to the NTC authorizing it to issue provisional authority which they used on the basis of guidance from the Justice department.
The NTC on Tuesday issued a cease and desist order against ABS-CBN. The network went off the air Tuesday evening along with other TV and radio subsidiaries nationwide.
The Office of the Solicitor-General hailed the order as as a “triumph of the rule of law.”
“The Constitution requires a prior franchise from Congress before a broadcasting entity can operate in this country. Absent a renewal, the franchise expires by operation by law. The franchise ceases to exist and the entity can no longer continue its operations as a public utility,” Calida added. Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra however pointed out that several broadcast companies has been allowed to operate with expired license saying the congress may allow NTC to provide the network with provisional authority.