SC overturns decision to disqualify Camarines Norte gubernatorial bet

Marje Pelayo   •   September 13, 2019   •   418

MANILA, Philippines – Voting 8-6, the Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday (September 10) granted the petition of Camarines Norte gubernatorial candidate Edgardo Tallado who questioned his disqualification by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in the last May 19 elections.

Tallado was allowed to run after the SC issued a Status Quo Ante Order (SQAO) following Comelec’s decision to disqualify him from the race.

The SC decision, penned by Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin, stated that the Court En Banc overturned the Comelec’s decision to disqualify Tallado to run in the gubernatorial race.

The SC Public Information Office will issue a copy of the decision through its website once they receive the official copy from the Office of the Clerk of Court En Banc.

Concurring with Bersamin were Justices Diosdado Peralta, Alexander Gesmundo, Andres Reyes Jr., Jose Reyes Jr., Amy Lazaro-Javier, Henry Jean Paul Inting and Rodil Zalameda.

Dissenting were Justice Francis Jardeleza, Antonio Carpio, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Marvic Leonen, Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, and Rosmari Carandang.

Comelec had disqualified Tallado to run due to what the poll body says as questionable years of service as governor of Camarines Norte, pointing out that should they grant Tallado’s certificate of candidacy, it would have already been his 4th term as governor.

The law provides that gubernatorial post is only limited to three consecutive terms.

However, Tallado took his case to the Supreme Court questioning the decision of the Comelec, insisting that he is still eligible to run for the May 2019 polls as he was suspended from office in 2015 and was reinstated only in 2018.

Tallado won as the governor of Camarines Norte after garnering 149,002 votes against his rival Cathy Barcelona-Reyes who had 104,635 votes.

Comelec has yet to comment on the matter as it yet to receive a copy of the SC decision. — Marje Pelayo

Alleged violations of ABS-CBN on its franchise sought in Senate

Maris Federez   •   February 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker is pushing for the Senate to look into the operation of ABS-CBN Corporation in relation to the allegations of franchise violations, following the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor-General Jose Calida before the Supreme Court seeking for the revocation of the broadcast network’s legislative franchise.

Senator Grace Poe said the investigation will check on the manner that the said media network complied with the terms and conditions stipulated in the franchise that was approved on March 30, 1995.

The Senate Committee on Public Services which Poe chairs will be the one to set the hearing once the House of Representatives has completed its own investigation on the matter.

Several senators expressed their support on Poe’s move.

“‘Yung senate inquiry, iba naman ang pakay. In aid of legislation, para baguhin ang Franchise Law, para baguhin ‘yung mga telecoms at NTC Act,” said Sen. Imee Marcos.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, however, clarified that this hearing is apart from the Senate’s hearing on ABS-CBN’s application renewal which is currently being heard at the Lower House.

He said Poe’s committee’s investigation will just give an input that will help the Senate determine whether or not ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal application must be approved.

It will also give the media network the opportunity to set the record straight on the allegations thrown at them.

“This is a good venue para makita natin kung may katotohanan ba talaga ‘yung kanilang mga allegations. This is a check and balance process. Hindi lang naman ABS ang nagpaparenew ng mass media franchise. Ang daming radio stations, nagpaparenew. And this is the check-and-balance power ng Kongreso,” Gatchalian said.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon also expressed his support, saying, that Congress is the only body that has jurisdiction to review ABS-CBN’s compliance of its franchise and not the Supreme Court.

“I will support Sen. Poe’s reso. Congress, not the Supreme Court, is the body that has jurisdiction to review compliance by ABS-CBN of the terms of the franchise granted by Congress, especially that there are pending bills seeking renewal of franchise,” said Drilon.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, on the other hand, said the matter must be discussed first in a caucus as he believes this might go against the sub-judice rule now that the Supreme Court has given the media network 10 days to give its comment on the Solgen’s petition.

“I will suggest to the SP (Senate President) and our colleagues, we may have to discuss it in caucus first as it may be violative of the sub judice rule, now that the SC has already asked ABS-CBN to file their comment within 10 days,” Lacson said.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III will set a caucus on Monday to discuss Poe’s resolution. —(from the report of Harlene Delgado)

OSG files quo-warranto petition vs ABS-CBN before SC

UNTV News   •   February 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Solicitor-General on Monday filed a quo warranto petition before the Supreme Court seeking the revocation of the legislative franchises of ABS-CBN Corporation and its subsidiary, the ABS-CBN Convergence, Inc.

Government lawyers accused the television network of “unlawfully exercising their legislative franchises.”

Solicitor General Jose Calida led the filing of the quo warranto petition against the broadcast network.

“We want to put an end to what we discovered to be highly abusive practices of ABS-CBN benefitting a greedy few at the expense of millions of its loyal subscribers. These practices have gone unnoticed or were disregarded for years,” Calida said in a statement.

Calida asserted that ABS-CBN has issued Philippine Depositary Receipts to foreigners and that ABS-CBN Convergence, Inc. has resorted to an “ingenious corporate layering scheme” that transfers its franchise without Congressional approval.

“It also failed to publicly offer any of its outstanding capital stock to any securities exchange within the Philippines within five years from the start of its operations, which is an indispensable condition in its franchise,” Calida said.

The OSG also alleged that ABS-CBN has been operating KBO Channel — a pay-per-view channel in ABS-CBN TV Plus “without prior approval or permit from the National Telecommunications Commission.”

ABS-CBN’s franchise is set to expire on March 30.

A bill for the renewal of its franchise has been filed before the Lower House in July 2019.

Voter registration in Taal eruption-affected areas to resume on Feb. 3 – Comelec

Robie de Guzman   •   January 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The voter registration in Batangas and Cavite areas affected by the eruption of Taal Volcano will resume on Monday, February 3, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Thursday.

In a statement, Comelec said the voter registration for the 2022 elections will resume in the following places in Batangas province due to a return to normal working conditions:

  • Alitagtag
  • Balete
  • Laurel
  • Lemery
  • San Nicolas
  • Sta. Teresita
  • Taal
  • Talisay
  • Cuenca
  • Lipa City
  • Tanauan City
  • Balayan
  • Calaca
  • Kalatagan
  • Tuy
  • San Luis
  • Mabini
  • Lian
  • Malvar

In Cavite, the poll body said that registration of voters will also resume in Alfonso, Indang, Silang, Tagaytay City, and Amadeo.

Meanwhile, the voter registration in the municipality of Mataas na Kahoy in Batangas will resume on February 10, according to Comelec.

The poll body earlier announced the suspension of the registration in areas within and beyond the 14-kilometer danger zone of Taal Volcano during its eruption.

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