Calida attends House hearing on ABS-CBN franchise
MANILA, Philippines — Solicitor General Jose Calida on Monday attended the House of Representatives’ deliberations on the 25-year franchise bid of media giant ABS-CBN.
Calida attended the hearing through videoconferencing as a part of the measures to observe physical distancing amid the ongoing pandemic.
Bulacan 1st District Rep. Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado, who chairs the House committee on good government and public accountability, said that Calida will explain why he should not be held in contempt for advising the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) against granting ABS-CBN a provisional franchise to operate.
“Magpapaliwanag si SolGen Calida ng kanyang pahayag kung bakit hindi natin siya dapat mai-contempt dahil sa kanilang pagpayo o sabi nga natin noong unang araw ay pag-bully sa NTC,” said Sy-Alvarado.
(SolGen Calida will explain why he should not be cited in contempt for advising or like what we called in the early days of the issue as bullying of NTC.)
The solicitor general did not attend the hearing conducted on May 26, as he cited the pending petitions he had 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.
But with the solicitor general’s absence in the May 26 hearing, Sy-Alvarado earlier moved to enjoin Calida to attend the next hearings, saying the latter should also explain why he should not be held in contempt for being absent.
However, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano asked members of the lower chamber to be “lenient” with Calida and to still give the solicitor general a chance to make his opening statement.
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