Calida says ‘justice served’ after House panel killed new ABS-CBN franchise
MANILA, Philippines — “Justice has been served,” according to Solicitor General Jose Calida a day after a House of Representatives panel rejected ABS-CBN’s application for a fresh 25-year franchise.
Calida, the government’s principal lawyer who initiated a quo warranto case against the country’s largest broadcasting network at the Supreme Court, also said Saturday the public should respect the House committee’s findings that the media company is “unworthy of a legislative franchise.”
“The granting of a legislative franchise is a privilege, not a right. Congress has ascertained that ABS-CBN is unworthy of a legislative franchise, and its decision must be accorded respect,” he said in a statement.
He also dismissed cries that the refusal to grant ABS-CBN another franchise affects the freedom of the press in the country.
“The denial of ABS-CBN’s franchise cannot be characterized as a restraint on freedom of expression or of the press because the primordial effect of such denial is the upholding of the constitutional provision and laws governing media companies like ABS-CBN,” Calida said.
“Congress has done its duty under the Constitution, and by its action, the rule of law has been upheld,” he added.
To recall, Calida’s quo warranto petition was dismissed in June by the Supreme Court “on the ground of mootness.”
Senators, media practitioners, and other personalities decried the House panel’s disapproval of ABS-CBN’s franchise application, saying it is an attack against press freedom.
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