SolGen insists SC should forfeit ABS-CBN franchise
MANILA, Philippines – Freedom of speech and of the press is not absolute, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) said in a consolidated reply to the Supreme Court as it insists on the need to issue a gag order against the parties from discussing in public the quo warranto case against television network ABS-CBN.
“The exercise of such right is not absolute for it may be so regulated that it shall not be injurious to the equal enjoyment of others having equal rights, nor injurious to the rights of the community or society,” the OSG, led by Solicitor General Jose Calida said.
Calida said the claim of ABS-CBN that a gag order will impair the people’s right to information is “overly sweeping if not altogether exaggeration.”
The OSG said what they want is to stop the discussion while the case is pending in court.
The OSG reiterated its request that an oral argument be conducted to defend its position that the network’s franchise must be nullified due to several violations.
It maintained that the quo warranto is allowed under the Rules of Civil Procedure in order to obtain a judicial declaration of the supposed violation committed by the network.
In his petition for quo warranto, Calida said that they have uncovered numerous abuses and violations of ABS-CBN Corp. and ABS-CBN Convergence of its legislative franchise.
Calida also said the network violated the constitutional provision against foreign ownership of media entities when it issued the Philippine Depository Receipts to foreigners.
The network in its comment to the high court answered point by point Calida’s claim and said they have been complying with the provision of its franchise.
ABS-CBN also insisted that Congress has the power to revoke a franchise.
But Calida said the instant quo warranto petition also does not violate the principle of separation of powers between Congress and the Court.
“The issues raised before this Honorable Court do not present political but legal questions which are within its province to resolve,” it said.
“It is respectfully submitted that the Honorable Court’s plenary power embodied in the Constitution clearly gives statutory basis to the Honorable Court’s jurisdiction to hear the present quo warranto petition,” he said.
The high court will deliberate on the case on March 10.
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