Supreme Court to take up ABS-CBN plea vs NTC order on July 13
Robie de Guzman • June 11, 2020 • 350
MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court will tackle next month the petition of ABS-CBN Corporation against the cease and desist order of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) which halted the network’s broadcast operations last May 5.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta said they will discuss the ABS-CBN’s petition on July 13.
Peralta said the high court had to wait for comments from all parties mentioned in the petition before conducting deliberations on the plea.
“We waited for the comments of the House of Representatives, the lower house and the upper house and I think we only received the comments last Friday or last Monday,” he said during an online press conference on Thursday.
ABS-CBN went off the air on May 5, just hours after the NTC issued its order directing the media network to halt its television and radio broadcast operations due to expired franchise. The company’s franchise ended on May 4.
The media giant then filed a petition, urging the Supreme Court to issue a temporary restraining order against the NTC’s closure order.
In its petition, the media company argued that the NTC acted with grave abuse of discretion and violated its rights to equal protection and due process by issuing the order.
The company claimed that the NTC should have deferred to Congress that have earlier sent a formal letter asking the agency to allow ABS-CBN to continue operating while bills seeking for its franchise renewal remain pending in the House of Representatives.
ABS-CBN also pointed out the loss of revenues on the part of the company and the government in terms of taxes, as well as the welfare of its 11,000 employees due to the stoppage of its operations.
MANILA, Philippines – A week after the House Committee on Legislative Franchises denied its bid for a new franchise, media network ABS-CBN Corp. announced on Wednesday (July 15) that it will lay off workers starting August 31.
In its official statement, the embattled Kapamilya network said it is forced to cease the operations of some of its businesses as a result of losing its franchise; thus, the retrenchment of workers.
“As much as it hurts us to implement this retrenchment program, this is the only way to ensure the continued employment of the rest of our Kapamilya,” the network said.
ABS-CBN Corp. assured it is doing its best to provide the affected employees with the proper separation and retirement benefits, as well as job placements.
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
Four petitions were filed against the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 at the Supreme Court on Monday (July 6).
A group led by law professor Atty. Howard Calleja and former Education Secretary Armin Luistro filed their petition to question the constitutionality of the Anti-Terrorism Act.
“We are not fighting this government. We are fighting the constitutionality of this law and this law should stand not only this constitution, not only this government but should stand the governments and constitutions of our children and of our children’s children. so we are fighting not only for today but for also the future of everybody, of every Filipino,” Calleja said.
Among the provisions questioned by Calleja and Luistro are the broad and vague definition of “terrorism”, the warrantless arrest, and the 24-day detention period upon suspicion of terrorism.
“The basic safeguard of our law is and of our rights is the constitution. if you violate the constitution then there are no safeguards,” Calleja said.
“Lalong nagiging perpekto ang administrasyon kapag handa nilang pakinggan kahit yung mga batikos dahil dyan nagagawang mas mabuti. Kapag ang mga ang netizens natin ay nagtatanggal na ng mga posts nila, yan na ang epekto na ayaw natin mangyari,” said Luistro.
[The administration gets perfected when it is ready to hear out even the criticisms for they make things better. When netizens start to remove their posts, then, that will be the effect that we don’t want to happen.]
Atty. Mel Sta. Maria, Dean of the Far Eastern University Institute of Law, also filed a petition, stating that aside from what Calleja has pointed out, the anti-terrorism law will affect the teaching patterns in universities.
“Kaya nga ang propesor, mga teacher o mga estudyante na magmumungkahi, mag-aaral ng halimbawa ng liberation theology, halimbawa na kalakip na dun ang pag-uusap sa arms struggle, e baka sabihin nila, proposal or inciting to terrorism na yan,” Sta. Maria said.
[That’s why professors, teachers, or even students will propose or study liberation theology, for example, and part of which is a discussion on arms struggle, it might be misconstrued as a proposal or inciting to terrorism already.]
Meanwhile, both Albay 1st district Representative Edcel Lagman and the Makabayan Bloc are requesting the Supreme Court to release a temporary restraining order (TRO) or Writ of Preliminary Injunction while the court has yet to decide on the filed petitions.
“All that a devious and underhanded law enforcer or prosecutor has to do is to conveniently invoke the killer proviso to stifle political dissent and peaceable assembly for redress of grievances,” Lagman said in a statement.
Lagman said the government must ensure that the rights of the common people for free speech will not be compromised by arrests that will be made against terrorists.
“What the government must pursue is the apprehension, prosecution and conviction, once warranted, of terrorists without ensnaring into contrived culpability persons who simply exercise free speech and peaceful assembly,” the lawmaker said.
Bayan Muna Partylist Representative Carlos Zarate expressed concern that the said law might be abused and target even ordinary individuals.
“This will be weaponized not only against members of the progressive organizations but even members of the political opposition, ordinary individuals, maging miyembro ng media (even members of the media),” he said.
On the other hand, Malacañang said it is leaving the decision to the Supreme Court.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque reiterated criticizing the government will never be considered a crime under the Constitution.
“Every law passed by congress enjoys the heavy presumption of constitutionality,” he said. —AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)
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