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

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 12 2020 02:16 PM

MANILA - Solicitor General Jose Calida on Thursday begged off comment on the National Telecommunications Commission’s (NTC) plan to grant ABS-CBN Corp. provisional authority to operate so it could continue operations pending renewal of its broadcast franchise.

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

The NTC on Wednesday said it would issue 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 requesting such.

“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 Feb. 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 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 as the NTC’s counsel in his petition. The OSG represents government agencies in cases before higher courts.

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

“Regards to ABS-CBN,” told reporters as the interview ended.