Panelo says SolGen right in seeking gag order vs ABS-CBN

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 18 2020 04:14 PM

Employees and supporters of ABS-CBN rally in front of the media station on February 14, 2020 to show their support against moves to strip its franchise on February 14, 2020. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

MANILA- Solicitor General Jose Calida was right in seeking a gag order against ABS-CBN since the case on the validity of the company’s franchise is already under court jurisdiction, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo, also President Rodrigo Duterte’s legal counsel, claimed Tuesday.

“Tama naman siya (Calida) doon kasi parang nagiging emotional ang issue on this particular topic. It’s much ado about nothing,” Panelo told reporters in Malacañang.

“It’s not about press freedom,” he added.

Panelo also lamented that the franchise battle of ABS-CBN has become an “emotional” issue.

Panelo made the remark days after several journalists and media personalities rallied behind ABS-CBN in light of Calida’s bid to void the network’s franchise.

Calida, who last week sought to invalidate the media firm’s license to operate with a “quo warranto” petition, alleged that ABS-CBN "engaged in propaganda” when he sought a gag order against the company.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave ABS-CBN 5 days within notice to answer Calida's very urgent motion to stop the network from issuing statements on the merits of the case.

ABS-CBN, in a public statement, meanwhile said Calida’s allegations were “without merit” as the organization “complies with all the pertinent laws governing its franchise.” It also claimed that the quo warranto case was an “effort to shut down” their operations.

ARTISTS CAN SPEAK BUT…

Asked if artists and talents of ABS-CBN should be barred from making public statements on the network’s franchise woes, Panelo responded: “They can always speak themselves subject to the contempt power of the Supreme Court.”

Several media personalities, even from rival networks, have expressed their support for ABS-CBN.

Among these personalities are Vice Ganda, Anne Curtis, Angel Locsin, Dingdong Dantes, Eugene Domingo, and Jasmine Curtis-Smith.

Panelo also reiterated that President Duterte has nothing to do with the solicitor general’s bid to void ABS-CBN’s franchise, saying the chief executive “will not use his office to stop ABS-CBN from continuing with its service.”

“That’s for Congress to decide, not for him,” Panelo said.

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