Senate to 'make sure' NTC attends next ABS-CBN franchise hearing


Posted at May 19 2020 02:40 PM

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The Senate will "make sure" that the National Telecommunications Commission attends its next hearing on the franchise of ABS-CBN Corp that the regulator forced to go off air, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said Tuesday. 

The NTC skipped the hearing on the proposed 6-month provisional franchise for ABS-CBN, citing the "sub judice" rule that restricts comments that might influence the court, he said. 

ABS-CBN earlier asked the Supreme Court to stop the shutdown of its broadcast operations over its stalled franchise renewal.

"We will make sure that in the next hearing, they will be attending to answer administrative and procedural issues," said Gatchalian, vice chairman of the Senate public services committee. 

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

Using the sub judice rule to evade a congressional hearing "is unacceptable," said Sen. Francis Pangilinan. 

"Given all the cases pending before various courts against government agencies or its employees, they will all invoke sub judice in order to avoid Senate hearings," he told fellow senators. 

Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri said he found the NTC's absence "a bit irregular." 

"We still have to ask the regulator if they interpose any objection on the issuance of a new franchise to ABS-CBN," he said. 

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