ABS-CBN may face P200 fine, not revocation of franchise, for pay-per-view – NTC chief
MANILA, Philippines — ABS-CBN may be slapped with a fine of P200 per violation — not a revocation of its franchise — if indeed it continued with its pay-per-view services even without the approval of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).
NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba himself admitted this during Monday’s hearing of the Senate Committee on Public Services, which is headed by Sen. Grace Poe.
The pay-per-view issue was among the alleged violations committed by the giant television network cited in a quo warranto petition filed at the Supreme Court by Solicitor General Jose Calida.
“Commissioner Cordoba, kunyari sabihin na natin hindi dapat nag air ang ABS-CBN sa pay-per-view, at ilang beses nilang ginawa yun… Ano ang karampatang parusa? Multa ba? Pagpapatigil ng operation? O pagsasara ng prangkisa?” Poe asked.
[Commissioner Cordoba, let’s say ABS-CBN should hot have aired its pay-per-view, and they did it several times… What would be the appropriate penalty? A fine? Stoppage of operation? Or the revocation of its franchise?]
“Actually your honor based on the Public Service Act, that would be just be fining po. That’s P200 per violation,” the NTC chief said.
To ensure he got the NTC right, Senate Minority Franklin Drilon repeated Poe’s query as to the possible liability of ABS-CBN in the pay-per-view issue.
“Just clearly and for the record, the alleged violation of the pay-per-view services in the view of the NTC is not a ground for the revocation of the franchise but only subjects ABS-CBN — assuming that they have violated [anything] — to a fine of P200 per violation. Is that correct?” Drilon asked.
“Yes, your honor,” Cordoba said.
But even before this, Cordoba revealed that the Department of Justice (DOJ) had said that the pay-per-view services of ABS-CBN was covered by its franchise.
He said the NTC had sought the opinion of the DOJ on the matter — that is, if the network’s franchise was “broad enough” to include the said pay-per-view services.
“Ang sagot naman po ng DOJ [The answer of DOJ[: It’s wide enough, it’s general enough to include pay-per-view and yun pong pag air ng ads [and the airing of ads],” Cordoba said.
“So to ensure lang po na may legal basis ang aming gagawin we asked for an opinion, and sabi naman po ng DOJ, kaya pong i-accommodate yung pay-per-view,” he added.
[So to ensure that we would have a legal basis, we asked for an opinion, and the DOJ said the pay-per-view can be accommodated.]
But Cordoba said the NTC was supposed to come up with implementing rules and regulations (IRR) first since some broadcasters were seeking clarification of the DOJ opinion.
He later said that ABS-CBN might have somehow violated the Constitution when it continued to offer the pay-per-view services pending the issuance of the IRR.
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