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ABS-CBN asks SC to issue TRO on NTC order to stop its operations

/ 10:09 PM May 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Television network ABS-CBN is pleading before the Supreme Court for it to issue a restraining order against the cease and desist order (CDO) issued by the National Telecommunications Comission (NTC) as it has been losing P30 million to P35 million mainly in advertising revenues every day.

The media network has submitted an Urgent Reiterative Motion for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) and/or a writ of preliminary injunction against the NTC and all other persons acting under its direction, control or supervision, from implementing the May 5 CDO.

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It explained that, while there was already a measure to allow them to operate until Oct. 31, 2020, it would still take time before it would be passed into law because it would need the approval of both houses of Congress, the signature of the Presiden, and its publication in the Official Gazette or a newspaper of general circulation to take effect.

The process, it pointed out could take weeks, if not months.

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During this period, the television network said it would be suffering “severe financial hemorrhage.”

“Every day that it is off the air, ABS-CBN is losing about P30 to P35-million to mainly in advertising revenues. If this severe financial hemorrhage is not stopped, ABS-CBN may be constrained to eventually let go of workers, reduce salaries and benefits and substantially cut down on costs and expenses,” the network told the high court.

ABS-CBN’s financial constraints could also affect the government, as it is one of the largest taxpayers in the country, contributing up to P70.5 billion between 2003 and 2020.

“Without the significant revenue stream the television network provides [the] government would be hard-pressed to find funding for basic services like education, healthcare and security. ABS-CBN’s shutdown means a significant reduction of income not only for ABS-CBN but also for the industries associated with its operation, thereby further reducing tax revenues of government,” it added.

The high court is expected to tackle the petition filed by ABS-CBN, which seeks to invalidate the CDO issued by the NTC on the ground, among others, “that it was issued in contravention of the intent and desire of Congress to allow the continued broadcasting operation of the company pending the renewal of its franchise.”

ABS-CBN noted that last May 13 House Bill No. 6732 was filed before the House of Representatives seeking to grant the media network a franchise to construct, install, operate and maintain television and radio broadcasting stations in the country until Oct. 31.

While the measure is still being heard by the legislative branch, the network said the high court should consider the “irreparable damage” that the CDO was causing and issue a restraining order.

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The House of Representatives failed to act on the bills pushing for the 25- year renewal of the ABS-CBN franchise, which lapsed last May 4.

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano asked the NTC to issue a provisional authority to operate to ABS-CBN until such time Congress had decided on its application.

But NTC did not issue a provisional authority. Instead, it came out with a CDO last May 5. The network immediately stopped its operations and took the case to the Supreme Court.

/atm

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TAGS: ABS-CBN, franchise, NTC, TRO
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