Senators to file resolution urging NTC to reconsider cease and desist order vs ABS-CBN

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 07 2020 11:20 AM

Senators to file resolution urging NTC to reconsider cease and desist order vs ABS-CBN 1
The ABS-CBN ELJ building lights up with its signature colors as ABS-CBN went off-air in compliance with the cease and desist order from the National Telecommunications Commission on May 5, 2020. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

MANILA - At least 8 senators have signed a resolution urging the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to reconsider its cease and desist order against the broadcast operations of ABS-CBN, Sen. Risa Hontiveros said Thursday.

The resolution will be filed later in the day after other senators respond to invitations to sign the measure, Hontiveros told reporters in an online press conference.

"Nilagay sa panganib ng cease and desist order na inihain laban sa ABS-CBN ang trabaho ng mga mangagagawa na puwede rin i-consider na frotnliners sa pandemic ngayon," she said.

The new resolution is a "reiteration" of the previous sense of the Senate - adopted in March - telling NTC officials that ABS-CBN should be allowed to operate while Congress continues to tackle its franchise renewal bid.

"Silent 'yung aming resolution tungkol sa House pero... in a way, it's a reiteration. May pagdidiin lang sa pagrereconsider ng NTC," she said.

(The resolution is silent about proceedings in the House, but in a way, it's a reiteration. There is emphasis that NTC needs to reconsider its decision.)

Among the points raised in the new resolution is an NTC memorandum saying all permits, certificates and licenses that have expired during the enhanced community quarantine are deemed extended for 60 days after the lockdown is lifted, Hontiveros said.

Metro Manila is still under community quarantine until May 15, 2020.

"So bakit parang sa ABS-CBN lamang naging selective ang paghihigpit ng NTC?" Hontiveros said, noting that at least 8 other broadcast networks and telecommunication companies were allowed to operate while their franchise applications were still pending in Congress.

(Why did NTC tighten its rules selectively against ABS-CBN?)

Senators will have to study if they have to pass a law that will guarantee continued network operations while a franchise application is pending in Congress, Hontiveros said.

"Baka kasi the loophole is not in the law in itself pero nasa tamang pag-implementa ng batas," she said.

(It is possible that the loophole is not in the law itself but in the proper implementation of the law.)

Under the Constitution, a Congressional resolution does not have the force and effect of law, but is simply an opinion of a legislative body.

But a resolution can be "setting the stage for the filing of a law," Hontiveros said.

While filing a resolution may be the "second strongest course of action," it is the "faster" route to reinstate ABS-CBN's broadcast operations and the 11,000 jobs at stake, she said.