MANILA- Malacañang on Tuesday distanced itself anew from the franchise ordeal of ABS-CBN Corp, insisting that the company’s fate relies upon Congress and the Supreme Court.
A petition by the government’s top lawyer to invalidate the company’s franchise will be decided by the Supreme Court while granting ABS-CBN a fresh 25-year franchise is up to Congress, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said as he disassociated President Rodrigo Duterte from problems hounding the media conglomerate.
“The President has nothing to do with it,” Panelo told reporters during a press briefing.
Duterte has repeatedly said he would oppose ABS-CBN's franchise renewal, complaining of the network's supposed failure to air a campaign ad that he paid for before the 2016 presidential election.
Panelo said this has nothing to do with the solicitor general’s petition.
Solicitor General Jose Calida on Monday sought to void ABS-CBN’s franchise even before Congress could decide on whether to extend it for another 25 years. At least 11 bills have been filed in support of ABS-CBN’s bid to renew its franchise.
“The filing of a petition for quo warranto is on the initiative of the Solgen pursuant to his constitutional duty to file any action in the court in the event of any, from his point of view, transgression of the law, that’s why he filed the case,” Panelo said.
“We will leave it to the Supreme Court vis a vis that petition,” he added.
The Supreme Court has given ABS-CBN 10 days to comment on the petition. The media outfit has asserted that it did not violate the law.
Panelo, also Duterte’s chief legal counsel, reiterated that Congress has the sole power to grant a franchise since the legislative body can overturn any veto of the President by a two-thirds vote of the body.
“It can be overruled. In other words, from whatever angle you look at it, it’s Congress; it’s not the President,” he said.
Under the 1987 Constitution, Congress can overturn a President’s veto if two-thirds of the respective membership of each chamber agree to pass the bill.
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