NTC can’t be forced to grant ABS-CBN permit
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Friday said Congress may not compel the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to issue a temporary permit to operate to ABS-CBN Corp. while its franchise renewal is pending in Congress.
Guevarra said the letter from the House of Representatives and the resolution of the Senate expressing their common sentiment that the NTC may issue a provisional authority to ABS-CBN pending Congress action on the renewal of its franchise “cannot be construed as direct orders of the legislature that the NTC is legally compelled to obey.”
Guevarra was reacting to the petition filed in the Supreme Court by lawyer Larry Gadon on Thursday who questioned the House letter to NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba that Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and legislative franchises committee chair Rep. Franz Alvarez signed on Feb. 26.
Gadon said the NTC had no authority to issue a certificate of public convenience, essentially a permit to operate, to ABS-CBN once its franchise expires on May 4.
He said a February 2003 Supreme Court decision ruled that such authority given to NTC were only in addition to the required congressional franchise.
Gadon disagreed with Guevarra that the NTC can issue such provisional authority.
“A franchise is a law. You cannot replace it with just a resolution,” he said.
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