Another quo warranto plea? Congress learned lesson in protecting jurisdiction - solon


Posted at Feb 11 2020 08:59 AM | Updated as of Feb 11 2020 09:17 AM

Protesters gather at the Boy Scout Circle on February 10, 2020 and call for the renewal of the ABS-CBN franchise. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Lawmakers have learned their lessons to "protect their jurisdiction and power," an opposition congressman said Tuesday after government's top lawyer sought to revoke ABS-CBN Corp's franchise before the Supreme Court.

At least 85 lawmakers have signed a resolution urging the House Committee on Legislative Franchises to allow 11 pending measures seeking to renew ABS-CBN Corp's franchise to be heard at the plenary, according to Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman.

"Again, quo warranto is being used to oust the jurisdiction of Congress, which has the sole authority to grant and renew franchises," he told ANC's Early Edition.

"The decision should be made by members of the House to exercise its congressional power to grant or cancel a franchise. Most probably this is the first opportunity that the House and the Congress will be given the chance to override of a veto of the President, which has never been done before. That could happen." 

Lagman said lawmakers are "thinking of their own survival as a legislative body."

"We cannot allow the President to intrude into the prerogatives of the Congress," he said.

"We learned our lessons that we should be able to protect our jurisdiction and power. This time I don’t think it will be easy for the executive to really pressure the members of the House to sit down and wait for the quo warranto proceedings to be terminated."

Lagman was referring to the quo warranto petition filed by the Office of the Solicitor General against former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno during impeachment proceedings against her at the House. The petition eventually led to the nullification of her appointment as top magistrate.

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Lagman called the Solicitor General's quo warranto petition against ABS-CBN Corp's franchise as "misplaced and erratic" as the plea should be used to "expose the respondent who is a usurper of a public office, corporate function, or franchise."

"In this case ABS-CBN is not a usurper. It has an existing franchise," he said.

"Violations of franchise is not a quo warranto. A separate case should be filed before another court to test the validity of the allegations."

Lagman said the network's supposed violations should be raised elsewhere as the high court does not try facts.

"That should be dismissed and let it be filed at the proper tribunal," he said.