Supreme Court to tackle Solicitor General's challenge vs ABS-CBN on March 10

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 26 2020 12:27 PM | Updated as of Feb 26 2020 01:12 PM

This photo shows the ABS-CBN Broadcasting Center in Diliman, Quezon City, Feb. 11, 2020. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The Supreme Court will start tackling a petition by the government's top lawyer to scrap the broadcast franchise of ABS-CBN Corp on March 10, an official said Wednesday. 

The high court, which sat en banc on Wednesday, took no action on Solicitor General Jose Calida's quo warranto petition and gag order motion against the network. 

"The case will be taken up again by the en banc on March 10, 2020," said lawyer Brian Keith Hosaka, the high court's spokesman. 

"This is to give the Justices time to go over the pleadings submitted by the parties, including the comments recently filed by the respondents," he added. 

Calida accused the network and its subsidiary ABS-CBN Convergence of various abuses, including illegal pay-per-view offering and foreign ownership. 

President Rodrigo Duterte had repeatedly threatened to shut down the network, which he accused of estafa or fraud for failing to air some of 2016 election ads. 

Duterte "has nothing to do" with ABS-CBN's franchise woes and his threats should not be taken literally, his spokesman Salvador Panelo earlier said. 

The House of Representatives has yet to tackle several bill seeking to extend ABS-CBN's license to operate, which expires in May. 
 
ABS-CBN can operate until 2022, when the 18th Congress ends, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano earlier said. 

The network's franchise is deemed extended as long as there is a pending bill for its renewal, both Senate President Vicente Sotto and House legislative franchise committee vice chairperson Isabela Rep. Tonypet Albano have said. 

ABS-CBN, which reaches millions of Filipinos through its television, radio and online platforms, had said it "did not violate the law" in its 65-year service. 

 News.abs-cbn.com is the official news website of ABS-CBN Corp.

Report from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News