Lacson: ABS-CBN needs new franchise from Congress, not NTC authority
MANILA, Philippines — A provisional authority by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) allowing ABS-CBN to operate past its franchise expiration may face legal questions, Senator Panfilo Lacson warned on Thursday.
ABS-CBN’s franchise is set to expire on May 4.
The House of Representatives, in a letter, has already asked the NTC to allow the continued operation of the network while Congress is tackling its franchise renewal bill.
Various resolutions have also been filed in the Senate and the House extending the franchise until December 31, 2022. Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.’s bill, meanwhile, seeks to extend the franchise only until December 31 this year.
But Lacson insisted that even if Congress authorizes the NTC to issue a provisional permit, ABS-CBN could not still operate after May 4 without a new legislative franchise.
“Without a legislative franchise, ‘yung NTC can’t issue a provisional permit so I don’t know where the House of Representatives, the leadership at least, is coming from when they wrote NTC a provisional authority,” he said at the regular Kapihan sa Senado.
“Kasi klaro naman sa batas. Ang legislation nasa amin e, wala sa NTC. NTC is a regulatory body. Sila ‘yung mag i-implement,” he pointed out.
(Because the law is clear, the legislation is with us, not with NTC. NTC is a regulatory body. They are the ones to implement.)
Lacson explained that not only a concurrent resolution, but even a joint resolution based on recent Supreme Court’s (SC) ruling, has no force and effect of the law, or could not amend an existing law.
When asked about the possibility of the NTC granting a temporary permit to ABS-CBN even before the May 4 expiration, the senator said: “Will it change the reality na mag-expire ‘yan sa May 4? So maski mag-issue kami ng 100 joint resolutions, good pa rin ‘yan hanggang May 4.”
(Will it change the reality that it will still expire on May 4? Even though we issue 100 joint resolutions, it’s just good until May 4.)
“How do you extend without issuing a provisional permit? The legislative franchise expires on May 4. So maski 1,000 joint resolutions na walang effect and force of law ang ipadala namin sa NTC, anong gagawin ng NTC after May 4? Expired pa rin ‘yan,” he added.
(So even if we send 1,000 joint resolutions that have no effect of the law to NTC, what will the NTC do after May 4? That’s already expired.)
“I don’t know what NTC will do to legalize yung pag-i-issue ng provisional permit kung walang batas (the issuance of a provisional permit without a law)…” he further said.
And instead of passing a bill extending the franchise of ABS-CBN, Lacson urged Congress to just act on the pending measures that would allow the network to operate for another 25 years.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.