MANILA - The Solicitor General's quo warranto plea against ABS-CBN Corp's franchise before the Supreme Court does not have any basis and is not within the high court's jurisdiction, an ally of President Rodrigo Duterte said Wednesday.
Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said Solicitor General Jose Calida should have filed his complaint against the broadcast network before the House of Representatives, which has yet to hear several bills seeking to renew its license to operate.
"The Constitution has given the power of franchises to the Congress. Solicitor General (Jose) Calida is wrong in usurping the power of Congress by trying to go to the Supreme Court," he told ANC's Early Edition.
"It will be dismissed immediately on the grounds that first the Supreme Court has no jurisdiction and secondly, the petition has no basis. The repeal of a franchise is within Congress’ domain. We in Congress will not be deterred by this filing."
Rodriguez said the high court should give Congress the "respect of an equal branch of government" after it proceeded with hearing the quo warranto petition against former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, which led to the nullification of her appointment.
The Solicitor General also filed a quo warranto petition when the House of Representatives were hearing impeachment complaints against Sereno.
"I believe this time the Supreme Court will act accordingly, in accordance with the Constitution and rule of law. After there is an answer by ABS-CBN the Supreme Court will just throw this to the waste can," he said.
Rodriguez said there is "no compelling reason" not to grant ABS-CBN Corp a fresh 25-year franchise.
"It is the sentiment of the House to uphold the Constitution. Can you imagine if you close the biggest television station and media outfit in the Philippines?" Rodriguez said.
"Can you imagine what has been brought to the people, also abroad not only here by the programs of ABS-CBN, (which) gives information and entertainment all over the world? Can you imagine the effect of the closure of more than 11,000 employees? All of them will have no more jobs. There has to really be a renewal of ABS-CBN's (franchise) on these grounds."