Palace: OSG ‘right’ about seeking gag order on quo warranto case vs ABS-CBN
MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) was “right” about seeking to stop concerned parties from talking about the quo warranto petition it filed against media network giant ABS-CBN, Malacañang said Tuesday.
Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo reasoned that the issue has become “emotional” and reiterated that it is not about press freedom anyway.
“Tama naman siya dun (OSG’s right about that). Kasi parang nagiging emotional ‘yung issue (Because the issue has become emotional) on this particular topic. It’s much ado about nothing. It’s not about press freedom,” Panelo said in a press briefing when sought for comment on OSG’s move.
Solicitor General Jose Calida, the government’s chief lawyer, filed a Very Urgent Motion asking the Supreme Court to issue a gag order on OSG and ABS-CBN regarding the quo warranto petition.
For Panelo, the gag order is “necessary” since the case is pending before the court.
“Because it’s pending before the court. If it’s pending before the court, it becomes sub judice. ‘Di ba the parties have been asked to comment from the receipt of the order,” Panelo said.
Should the gag order be granted, Panelo said this will cover everyone, including celebrities, except members of Congress.
“Members of Congress, if they are doing their duty, I don’t think they can be stopped from asking questions relative to the matter. Perhaps, the resource persons can be covered but not members of Congress,” said Panelo, who is also President Rodrigo Duterte’s chief legal counsel.
“‘Pag gag order, everybody is covered except for those that I mentioned earlier, members of Congress, ‘pag meron silang Senate investigation,” Panelo explained.
When asked to clarify whether celebrities will not be allowed to air their opinion on the matter, Panelo said: “They can always speak themselves subject to the contempt power of the Supreme Court.”
On February 10, Calida personally went to the Supreme Court and filed a quo warranto petition to void ABS-CBN’s legislative franchise – which is set to lapse on March 30 – allegedly due to “abusive practices.”
But ABS-CBN denied allegations that it violated terms of its legislative franchise and said the petition was only an effort to shut down the network.