Malacañang leaves people’s initiative on ABS-CBN franchise to Supreme Court

Maris Federez   •   July 13, 2020   •   1232

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Sunday (July 12) said it will leave the issue of granting a franchise to media giant ABS-CBN Corporation to the Supreme Court.

This, after several groups said that a people’s initiative to revive the company’s franchise bill could possibly happen, invoking Republic Act 6735 to grant a franchise for ABS-CBN, after a House committee rejected the network’s franchise application.

RA 6735 or the Initiative and Referendum Act provides that the public can directly propose and enact laws or approve or reject any act or law or part thereof as passed by Congress.

In a statement released on Sunday, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Malacañang will defer to the Supreme Court should it decide on the issue.

“We also take note of the discussions around using the mechanism of the people’s initiative to grant ABS-CBN a franchise,” he added.

He said it is up to the Supreme Court to rule on whether a people’s initiative will be applicable to the case of ABS-CBN despite, as he said, what was clearly worded in Republic Act 7925 or the Public Telecommunications Act.

“Whether the franchise of ABS-CBN may be granted through a people’s initiative despite the clear wording of R.A. 7925, whether it matters that a franchise bill is a private bill that must ‘originate exclusively in the House of Representatives’ in accordance with Article VI, Section 24 of the Constitution — these and related questions we leave to the Supreme Court, as the final arbiter of the appropriate interpretation of these provisions in the Constitution and our laws,” he said.

Meanwhile, a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey released last Saturday showed that three out of 4 Filipinos want Congress to renew ABS-CBN’s franchise.

The survey said that 57 percent of adult Filipinos “strongly” agreed that the network should be granted a fresh franchise, while 19 percent “somewhat” agreed. e, 13 percent are not in favor of granting the media giant a fresh franchise while 10 percent are undecided on the issue. — /mbmf

Duterte: No franchise until arrears with government are settled

Marje Pelayo   •   January 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday (January 18) maintained that the government will not allow any franchise application to push through unless business owners settle their obligations with the government.

Though the President did not mention any particular business or company, his remark comes as lawmakers push for a franchise bill for ABS-CBN.

“No franchise will ever be implemented. Maski bigyan ninyo ng limang libong franchise iyan, hindi ko i-implement iyan. Settle your account with the government.” the President said.

In July 2020, the House of Representatives (HOR) Committee on Legislative Franchise denied ABS-CBN’s bid for a fresh 25-year franchise after it lapsed in May 2020.

On January 4, 2021, Senate President Vicente Sotto III filed his version of ABS-CBN franchise bill.

Earlier this month, Batangas 6th District Representative and House Deputy Speaker Vilma Santos-Recto filed her version noted as House Bill No. 8298. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

READ: ABS-CBN to stay off-air after House panel junks bid for new 25-year franchise

Supreme Court resets oral arguments on Anti-Terror Law to Feb. 2

Robie de Guzman   •   January 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The oral arguments on the controversial anti-terrorism law have been moved to February 2, the Supreme Court announced Friday.

This is after staffers of Solicitor General Jose Calida tested positive for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“Considering the meritorious request of Solicitor General Jose Calida that his Assistant Solicitor General and some staff who will attend the oral arguments have been tested positive for COVID-19, you are hereby informed, per instruction of the Honorable Supreme Court, that the oral arguments is reset to February 2, 2021 at 2:30 p.m.,” the Clerk of Court said in a statement.

“No further postponement will be allowed,” it added.

The high court originally scheduled the oral arguments on January 19.

JBC opens application for Chief Justice after SC OKs Peralta’s early retirement

Robie de Guzman   •   January 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) has opened the applications for chief justice following the Supreme Court en banc’s approval of the early retirement of Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta.

In an announcement, the JBC said the applicants may submit their applications and other documentary requirements on February 15.

Applicants must visit the JBC website and access the online application scheduler from 8 a.m. to 12 midnight not later than the said date, it added.

The JBC said Peralta’s optional retirement was approved by the magistrates on January 5 during their first en banc session this year. He will step down from office when he turns 69 on March 27, one year ahead of the mandatory retirement age for judges and justices.

The SC in December confirmed that Peralta opted for early retirement but did not disclose the reason.

Peralta was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as SC chief justice in 2019.

When he retires, the five most senior magistrates in the high court will be automatically nominated for the post, subject to their confirmation. They are Justices Estela Perlas Bernabe, Marvic Leonen, Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, Alexander Gesmundo, and Ramon Hernando.

REACH US

The Philippine Broadcast Hub

UNTV, 915 Barangay Philam,

EDSA, Quezon City M.M. 1104

(+632) 8396-8688 (Tel)

info@untv-newsandrescue.com (General inquiries)

ABOUT UNTV

UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.