House panel asks NTC to explain ABS-CBN closure order or face contempt


Posted at May 11 2020 01:31 PM

House panel asks NTC to explain ABS-CBN closure order or face contempt 1
Employees and members of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines light candles in front of the headquarters of ABS-CBN Corp in Quezon City on Tuesday. Jire Carreon, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The House committee on legislative franchises has asked the country's telecoms body to explain why it should not be held for contempt for reneging on its commitment to allow ABS-CBN Corp to continue its operations beyond its lapsed franchise, a document showed.

In an order dated May 5 but made public only on Monday, the panel told the National Telecommunications Commission to explain within 72 hours. 

"The act of NTC constitutes undue interference on and disobedience to the exercise of the power of the House of Representatives, and therefore, an affront to its dignity and an inexcusable disrespect of its authority," the order read.

The NTC will be held in contempt should it fail to comply with the order, according to the letter signed by the committee's chairman Palawan 1st District Rep. Franz Alvarez.

ABS-CBN on May 5 halted its broadcast operations after the NTC issued a cease-and-desist order against the network as its franchise had lapsed a day before.

Isabela 1st District Rep. Antonio Albano, the committee's vice-chairman, earlier said the House would summon and ask NTC to explain its decision to shut down the largest broadcast company in the country.

If the NTC fails to answer, the committee could file the "necessary bills and arrangements to abolish NTC for not following the Congress and Senate itself," Albano said. 

ABS-CBN has since asked the Supreme Court for a temporary restraining order against the NTC's order.