Quo warranto case vs ABS-CBN won’t affect franchise renewal talks in Congress – Calida | Inquirer News

Quo warranto case vs ABS-CBN won’t affect franchise renewal talks in Congress – Calida

/ 02:12 PM February 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The quo warranto petition against broadcasting network ABS-CBN would not affect discussions on its franchise extension, Solicitor General Jose Calida said Monday.

Calida explained that the petition, which accuses ABS-CBN of violation of the constitutional provisions on mass media ownership, was filed before the Supreme Court (SC) – the judiciary – while the franchise talks involve Congress or the legislative branch of government.

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“Iba ‘yong amin because judiciary, ‘yong Supreme Court, kasi ito constitutionality and legal (issues),” Calida told reporters on the sidelines of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) founding anniversary celebration in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

(Our case is different because it is with the judiciary, the Supreme Court, because these are constitutional and legal issues.)

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“Wala naman, kasi separate ‘yong judiciary (None, because it is a separate branch from the judiciary),” Calida said when asked if the petition could have any implications on congressional hearings on AQBS-CBN’s franchise renewal.

Before attending the CIDG anniversary, Calida led the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) in filing the quo warranto petition against ABS-CBN at SC. According to OSG, ABS-CBN allegedly hid foreign ownership behind a corporate veil, which is a violation of the 1987 Constitution.

For this, OSG asked the high court to revoke the franchise of ABS-CBN.

OSG’s move came 50 days prior to the expiration of ABS-CBN’s franchise by end of March this year. The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines slammed the Duterte administration for allegedly limiting press freedom and exhausting all possible options to stop ABS-CBN from continuing its operation.

Meanwhile, lawmakers have called Calida’s petition “unwarranted and misplaced” as it preempts Congress’ role to extend or deny existing franchises.

Fellow media organization Rappler has backed ABS-CBN, saying there is nothing wrong with receiving legal foreign funding. Rappler and its CEO, Maria Ressa, are also facing cases from cyber libel to tax evasion. OSG even earlier asked the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to investigate Rappler’s alleged foreign ownership. In January 2018, SEC revoked Rappler’s license to operate.

The online news site appealed the case twice before the Court of Appeals (CA). Its first appeal was rejected, but the CA subsequently returned the case to SEC for review.

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Rappler and ABS-CBN are deemed critics of the Duterte administration.

President Rodrigo Duterte previously said that he would not sign any bill on ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal even advising the owners of the media network giant to just sell the company.  According to Duterte, the network has been biased in its reportage and refused to air his campaign advertisements during the 2016 presidential polls.

Edited by KGA
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TAGS: ABS-CBN, ABS-CBN franchise, Congress, foreign ownership, Freedom of expression, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), Office of the Solicitor General, OSG, Philippine news updates, press freedom, quo warranto, Rodrigo Duterte, Solicitor General Jose Calida, Supreme Court
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