MANILA - The Office of the Solicitor General's petition to nullify ABS-CBN Corp's franchise is "much ado about nothing" as the network could easily file another application for a fresh license to operate, Malacañang said Thursday.
President Rodrigo Duterte has not discussed the Solicitor General's quo warranto petition against ABS-CBN Corp and one of its subsidiaries to Cabinet members, according to his spokesman Salvador Panelo.
"It’s an independent move on the Solicitor General. The President doesn’t interfere with any departments unless there’s a complaint of corruption," he told ANC's Early Edition.
"The filing of the petition is much ado about nothing. Because if the quo warranto petition succeeds, then all ABS-CBN can do is reapply for a new franchise."
The Solicitor General's quo warranto petition refers to ABS-CBN's current franchise, Panelo said.
"If the franchise is revoked by reason of the petition of quo warranto, then ABS-CBN can again apply for a new franchise. Congress will have to resolve it," he said.
Duterte earlier assured media practitioners of equal protection of their rights but told them that broadcasting rights are a “privilege” and any abuse of such would not be tolerated by government.
The President has criticized ABS-CBN for allegedly not airing a campaign ad that he paid for before the 2016 presidential election. Last December, Duterte urged the owners of ABS-CBN to just sell the company.
Congress has yet to act on several bills seeking to grant a fresh 25-year franchise for ABS-CBN, which is set to end on March 30.