ABS-CBN franchise: Calida mum on NTC provisional authority, Gadon petition

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 12 2020 04:50 PM

MANILA - Solicitor General Jose Calida refused to comment Thursday on the National Telecommunications Commission’s (NTC) plan to grant ABS-CBN Corporation a provisional authority to operate once its franchise expires on May 4.

“I won’t comment on that because you know it’s before the Supreme Court,” Calida told reporters shortly after oral arguments at the Supreme Court.

The NTC on Wednesday said it would issue a provisional authority to allow ABS-CBN and its subsidiaries to operate until June 2022 while Congress deliberates on its franchise renewal.

Calida cited a gag order although the high court has yet to make any announcement on whether it has ruled on his motion.

“There’s a gag order. I was the one who filed that gag order so I could not comment,” he said.

Calida filed a gag order motion on February 18, a week after filing the quo warranto petition seeking to revoke ABS-CBN’s franchise due to alleged franchise violations. Calida accused ABS-CBN of engaging in propaganda in its reports.

Calida also did not comment on lawyer Lorenzo “Larry” Gadon’s petition seeking to stop NTC from issuing a provisional authority to ABS-CBN, claiming it has no authority in the absence of a law.

“That’s his petition. It’s not our petition,” Calida said.

Gadon cited the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) as the NTC’s counsel in his petition. The OSG represents government agencies in cases before higher courts.

Asked if the OSG will represent the NTC, Calida gave a noncommittal answer: “I’ll cross the bridge when I see it.”

“Regards to the ABS-CBN,” he said before ending the ambush interview.