NTC order vs ABS-CBN 'surprises' Roque, 2 other ranking execs | Inquirer News

NTC order vs ABS-CBN ‘surprises’ Roque, 2 other ranking execs

/ 09:50 AM May 06, 2020

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Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Wednesday that the National Telecommunications Commission’s (NTC) cease and desist order to broadcast network giant ABS-CBN took him and two other “very high-ranking” Palace officials by surprise.

“It took me by surprise. It took two other very high-ranking Palace officials by surprise. Because prior to the decision of the NTC, we have agreed on my messaging on this issue and it’s really to leave it, as according to our legal research, it is within the jurisdiction of the NTC,” he said over ABS-CBN News Channel.

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He, however, did not mention the names of the two other Palace officials.

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“Quite frankly we did not expect that the NTC would issue the cease and desist order yesterday,” he also said.

The NTC on Tuesday ordered ABS-CBN to “cease and desist” from broadcasting on television and radio, a day after its 25-year operating franchise expired. The network stopped its broadcast operations Tuesday night in compliance with the order.

According to Roque, President Rodrigo Duterte is “in a bind” on the matter since Solicitor General Jose Calida and Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra have opposing views on the granting of provisional authority to ABS-CBN.

A day before the network’s franchise expired, Calida warned NTC against granting provisional authority to the network while the renewal of its franchise is pending, saying it must first secure a franchise from Congress.

Guevarra, however, said that a provisional authority can be granted to ABS-CBN to allow it to operate while the renewal of its legislative franchise remains pending.

Roque also stressed that the President remains neutral on the issue and that members of Congress should vote on the franchise renewal “as [their] conscience dictates.”

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Duterte has repeatedly threatened to block the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN for not airing his 2016 campaign advertisement.

“Your franchise will end next year. If you are expecting that it will be renewed, I’m sorry. You’re out. I will see to it that you’re out,” he said in a speech on December 3, pertaining to ABS-CBN.

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TAGS: ABS-CBN, Harry Roque, NTC, Rodrigo Duterte, Roque, shutdown, television

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