Supreme Court requires NTC to comment on ABS-CBN plea vs closure

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 19 2020 11:36 AM | Updated as of May 19 2020 03:24 PM

The ABS-CBN main building in Quezon City is draped in the network’s colors on February 28, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) -- Despite an urgent plea from embattled media giant ABS-CBN Corp., the Supreme Court voted to require the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to comment on the network's plea for a temporary restraining order against the latter's closure order.

SC magistrates voted unanimously to give NTC 10 days to comment and another 5 days for ABS-CBN to reply, the high court's public information office said in a statement.

They also decided to implead the House of Representatives and the Senate in ABS-CBN's petition and asked them to comment within 10 days.

The NTC is required to reply within 5 days from personal notice of the comments of the Senate and House of Representatives, the SC-PIO said. All periods are non-extendible, it added.

The high court's decision was a "balanced" approach to the issue, according to a source.

The justices also voted unanimously to deny outright lawyer Lorenzo Gadon's motion to consolidate ABS-CBN's plea with his earlier SC petition seeking to prohibit NTC from issuing provisional authority to the network.

The media giant filed the petition seeking to set aside and immediately halt the implementation of the NTC's cease and desist order on May 7. 

On Monday, it filed an urgent motion reiterating its plea, stressing that the network loses between P30 to P35 million pesos in revenues for every day that it is off the air, endangering the jobs of its 11,000 workers.

Lawmakers last week approved a bill on second reading that would give ABS-CBN a temporary franchise until October 2020 while they deliberate on measures for its fresh 25-year license to operate. 

The chamber recalled the approval Monday for debates and individual amendments to avoid legal questions since the Constitution requires approval of a bill on “separate days.”

Senators said they would pass the bill before Congress takes another break in June.

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