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Duterte can’t reverse NTC order on shutdown of ABS-CBN — Roque

/ 09:22 AM May 06, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte cannot reverse the decision of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) on the issuance of the cease and desist order to broadcast network giant ABS-CBN, his spokesperson Harry Roque said Wednesday.

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“He cannot (reverse it). We had thorough research on this made yesterday. Although it (NTC) is attached to the DICT (Department of Information and Communications Technology), it is only for purposes of policies and programs. All its decisions are made in a quasi-judicial capacity,” he said over ABS-CBN News Channel.

“If the President can even exercise appellate jurisdiction to the decisions of the NTC then perhaps the President can intervene. The reality is, no. We do not have appellate jurisdiction,” he added.

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The NTC, while attached to the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), is required to exercise independence insofar as its regulatory and quasi-judicial functions are concerned.

Roque was reacting to the Tweet of former senator, now Sorsogon Governor Francis “Chiz” Escudero, who said that Duterte can reverse the NTC order since the commission is under the Office of the President.

“PRRD (Duterte) can reverse the order of the NTC, being under the OP. This is not the time to deprive people with information,” said Escudero, who is also a lawyer.

He also noted that whether or not to issue a provisional permit is “not quasi-judicial in nature but administrative and, given past practices, ministerial in nature.”

“That the CDO (cease-and-desist order) was issued without due process (notice and hearing) negates the position that it is quasi-judicial,” said the governor.

But Roque claimed any intervention that Duterte might make insofar as the NTC order is concerned would be tantamount to graft and a violation of the code of ethics for government employees.

“We just have to reiterate what the law says. That the NTC can decide on these matters and that we should not intervene. Otherwise we would have, in the same way that the President intervened with the PhilHealth issue that was barely something that he could intervene in the exercise of his supervisory power over executive agencies, but not in this case,” he explained.

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Roque added that Duterte also told him to thank ABS-CBN for all the help it has extended to the nation, especially during the coronavirus crisis.

“He said that anyone who has helped people in this time of crisis I would be grateful to. And that is why if he could, he probably would have done something for the ABS-CBN franchise. But the president is a lawyer. The law may be harsh but that is the law,” said Roque.

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TAGS: ABS-CBN, Harry Roque, National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), NTC, President Rodrigo Duterte
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