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Solgen: SC has no power over ABS-CBN case

MANILA, Philippines — Solicitor General Jose Calida on Tuesday told the Supreme Court it had no jurisdiction to act on ABS-CBN’s petition seeking to set aside the shutdown order by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

“The grant of a legislative franchise to operate radio and television broadcasting stations is a political question which is beyond the scope of this honorable court’s power of judicial review,” he said in arguments submitted to the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

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Calida, who snubbed a House committee hearing the same day, defended the NTC’s “cease-and-desist order” on May 5 as “a purely administrative act” since the network’s franchise expired without being renewed by Congress.

“The court is not a forum to appeal political and policy choices made by the executive, legislative and other constitutional agencies,” he said.

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‘Better company’

Calida said ABS-CBN could not hold NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba to his word to the Senate and the House committee on legislative franchise that the regulatory body would give ABS-CBN a provisional authority to operate while its franchise renewal was pending.

At the House hearing on Tuesday, ABS-CBN president and CEO Carlo Katigbak appealed to lawmakers to grant the network a new franchise and allow it to continue its service to its Filipino audience.

“We have not violated any law, and we pledge that we will continually try to be a better company,” Katigbak said.

Calida, who was invited to the hearing of the joint committees on legislative franchises and on good government and public accountability, did not attend the hearing.

During the hearing, Palawan Rep. Franz Alvarez, House legislative committee chair, directed the House secretariat to seek an explanation from Calida on why he should not be cited for contempt for his absence.

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TAGS: ABS-CBN franchise, cease and desist order, Jose Calida, NTC, Supreme Court
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