Palace: Crisis over ABS-CBN franchise unlikely
MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Panfilo Lacson’s fears that a quo warranto petition to cancel ABS-CBN’s franchise might lead to a “constitutional crisis” is unlikely, Malacañang said on Sunday, stressing that there is a distinction between congressional franchises and violations of the law.
“It is the Solicitor General [Jose Calida]’s job to file cases against those violating the law. The franchise coming from Congress is different, and so is violating the franchise. That’s two things. Both can independently be taken together,” Panelo said over dzIQ. “That [constitutional crisis] is unlikely. Why should there be a constitutional crisis?”
He made the remarks after Lacson said the planned quo warranto proceeding could cause a constitutional crisis because should the Supreme Court grant the quo warranto petition while Congress is conducting a plenary deliberation on ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal, there would be a question of which would prevail.
“Whatever the Supreme Court says becomes part of the law of the land, but we are talking about the Constitution. The Supreme Court cannot declare as unconstitutional the ongoing deliberations of Congress about franchise renewal, because it is clear in the Constitution that franchise renewal is for [Congress] to decide,” Lacson said in a radio interview on Saturday.
But Panelo said Calida’s plan to file a quo warranto petition is based on violations of the franchise, such as the broadcast network’s alleged unpaid taxes, and even claimed that there may been collusion in the four tax compromise agreements that ABS-CBN reached with the Bureau of Internal Revenue and approved by the Court of Tax Appeals.
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