Solon urges Solgen to reconsider quo warranto petition vs ABS-CBN
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY –– Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez, an ally of President Duterte, on Friday appealed to Solicitor General Jose Calida to reconsider his plan to file a quo warranto petition with the Supreme Court questioning the validity of the franchise of television network ABS-CBN.
The ABS-CBN franchise is set to expire this March, and bills are pending before the House and Senate to have this extended.
Calida’s move, Rodriguez said, “will be seen as the government’s harassment of ABS-CBN and certainly a clear assault on press freedom as enshrined in our Constitution.”
On Thursday, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Calida’s move may have been due to President Duterte’s pronouncement against having the ABS-CBN franchise renewed.
The president has, on numerous occasions, threatened to block the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise, accusing the network of biased reporting and riling against its failure to air his political advertisement during the 2016 campaign.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has said that the filing of a quo warranto petition against ABS-CBN has never been discussed in the Cabinet.
Rodriguez pointed out that the quo warranto petition would “encroach on the powers of the legislative branch and will violate the Constitutional doctrine of the separation of powers among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government.”
Under the 1987 Constitution, the granting of a franchise to television and radio companies is a power lodged in Congress.
“The Office of the Solicitor General cannot frustrate and remove such power by filing the case in court. Furthermore, bills including my [House Bill] 5705 have been filed in the House extending the ABS-CBN franchise. Let Congress do its job by hearing these bills,” Rodriguez said.
He added that if Calida has complaints against ABS-CBN, he could bring these up before the committee on the legislative franchise.
“He disrespects and denies due courtesy to Congress if he files the quo warranto petition,” Rodriguez said.
“ABS-CBN is a holder of a valid franchise, hence, there is no basis for quo warranto,” Rodriguez emphasized./lzb
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