House panels to compel SolGen Calida to attend ABS-CBN franchise hearings
MANILA, Philippines — The House panels on good governance and accountability and legislative franchises will compel Solicitor General Jose Calida to attend the next hearings on the franchise renewal of media network ABS-CBN Corp.
House committee on good governance and accountability chairman Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado on Tuesday moved to require the attendance of Calida to explain his nonappearance during Tuesday’s inquiry and why he should not be held in contempt for being absent.
“Napansin ko lang, the Solicitor General, who is absent in this hearing, should be enjoined to future hearings and explain his side why should he not be held in contempt,” Alvarado said.
(I noticed that the Solicitor General, who is absent in this hearing, should be enjoined to future hearings and explain his side why he should not be held in contempt.)
Legislative franchises panel chairman Franz Alvarez then ordered the committees to ask Calida to join the next hearings. Otherwise, he said, the panels will “resort to compulsory processes.”
Calida, in a letter to Alvarez on Tuesday, said he will skip the House hearing due to the pending petitions he has filed before the Supreme Court against ABS-CBN.
Calida earlier filed a quo warranto petition against ABS-CBN to nullify the existing franchise of the television and radio broadcast giant, and a motion to issue a gag order to prohibit the parties and their representatives from discussing the case in public.
“I am constrained to decline your invitation because the issues to be discussed in the public hearing are sub judice. The sub judice rule prohibits the undersigned, as the statutory counsel of both the Republic and the NC, from sharing views and recommendations relative to the merits to the (petitions),” he wrote.
Calida reportedly also warned the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) against issuing provisional authorities to ABS-CBN Corp. and its affiliate, ABS-CBN Convergence, Inc., in the absence of a congressional franchise. In a letter to NTC, the Solicitor General, the principal lawyer of the government, even allegedly said the commission should instead issue a cease and desist (CDO) against ABS-CBN.
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