ABS-CBN plea vs NTC order raffled to Supreme Court magistrate: spox

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 11 2020 01:07 PM | Updated as of May 11 2020 04:38 PM

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - ABS-CBN Corp.'s plea for a temporary restraining order (TRO) against its closure has been raffled off to a Supreme Court magistrate, the high court's spokesman said Monday.

The network, in a petition filed Thursday, said the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) gravely abused its discretion when it issued a cease-and-desist order (CDO) instead of deferring to Congress, which has the plenary power to grant and renew legislative franchises.

"The results of the raffle is confidential pursuant to the internal rules of the Supreme Court," Supreme Court spokesman Brian Hosaka told reporters.

The Supreme Court en banc will discuss the petition on May 19, a source said.

The high court will decide if a special session is needed prior to next week's meeting, set to be the first physical en banc session of the court following Metro Manila's enhanced community quarantine, another source said.

ABS-CBN was forced to halt its broadcast operations last week after the NTC did not follow through on its commitment to issue a provisional authority to allow broadcast operations beyond May 4, the date the franchise expired.

In its petition, the media giant said its rights to equal protection and due process were violated when it was singled out and treated differently from other companies whose franchises had also lapsed but were allowed to continue operating.

It also said it did not receive any notice of any complaint against its continued operation and was not given the chance to be heard.

The Office of the Solicitor General, which sought to invalidate ABS-CBN Corp's franchise before the high court, earlier said Congress was to blame for the network's shutdown.

Solicitor General Jose Calida issued the remark even after he advised the NTC against allowing ABS-CBN to continue its operations beyond the expiration of its franchise.

Both chambers of Congress condemned the NTC's move to shut down the largest broadcast company in the country during a pandemic

Malacañang, meantime, said President Rodrigo Duterte was not behind the shutdown, adding that the chief executive was neutral on renewing ABS-CBN's franchise. 

--With reports from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News