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ABS-CBN may continue to operate after franchise’s expiration – NTC

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 06:39 PM February 24, 2020
National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) Commissioner Atty. Gamaliel Cordoba during the senate inquiry on ABS-CBN franchise renewal on Feb 24. INQUIRER.NET PHOTO/CATHY MIRANDA

National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) Commissioner Atty. Gamaliel Cordoba during the senate inquiry on ABS-CBN franchise renewal on February 24. INQUIRER.NET PHOTO/CATHY MIRANDA

MANILA, Philippines — ABS-CBN may still continue to operate even after its franchise expires on May 4, not March 30, as earlier reported.

This was according to National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba, based on his consultation with Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

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READ: DOJ speaks: Congress may authorize NTC to let ABS-CBN operate pending franchise renewal

“Could you categorically state the position of the NTC, kung papayagan pa rin ninyo na patuloy na magbroadcast ang ABS-CBN habang tinatalakay ng Kongreso ang prangkisa ng ABS-CBN? At least for this Congress. Dalawang taon pa ang buhay ng Kongresong ito,” Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto asked during the hearing of the Senate committee on public services on Monday.

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(Could you categorically state the position of the NTC if you’d still allow ABS-CBN to continue to broadcast while Congress is deliberating the franchise of ABS-CBN? At least for this Congress. This Congress will still live for two years.)

Responding to this, Cordoba informed the committee that he already consulted the Justice Secretary about this matter.

“I consulted earlier with the Secretary of Justice and I [asked] him kung papaano nga po ang magandang gawin kung kunwari po na wala ‘yung (what’s the best thing we should do if in case there is no) Joint Resolution,” he said.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon has filed a joint resolution, extending the franchise of ABS-CBN until December 31, 2022 or while the franchise renewal is still pending in the 18th Congress.

“Ang sabi naman po niya (Guevarra), we can let ABS-CBN continue to broadcast pero mas maganda po kasi na meron din, Sir. Dahil magkakaroon ng question, na what is the basis for us to issue such a provisional authority,” the NTC chief went on.

(And according to him we can let ABS-CBN continue to broadcast but it’s better sir if there’s also [a joint resolution] because there will be questions like what is the basis for us to issue such a provisional authority.)

“Pero based on equity, pwede naman daw, kaya lang sir, to put more legal basis and more legal muscle to that action, mas maganda kung merong concurrent resolution ang Senate at House of Representatives,” he added.

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(But based on equity,[ABS-CBN can continue to operate] but to put more legal basis and more legal muscle to that action, it would be better if the Senate and the House of Representatives [would approve] a concurrent resolution )

Recto welcomed Cordoba’s statement, pointing out some cases in the past where some companies were still allowed to operate even after the expiration of their franchise as long their franchise renewal bill remains pending in Congress.

The NTC chief explained though that no issues or quo warranto petition had been filed before against a franchisee with a pending franchise renewal in Congress.

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