Can ABS-CBN operate with expired franchise? 'There is precedent,' says senator


Posted at May 05 2020 10:36 AM

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There is a "precedent" in government allowing broadcast outlets like ABS-CBN Corp. to continue operating beyond the expiration of their franchise, a senator said Tuesday, contrary to a warning by the executive branch's lead lawyer. 

Congress earlier asked the National Telecommunications Commission to issue provisional authority to the country's largest media network while the House of Representatives has yet to tackle the renewal of its franchise that expired on May 4, said Sen. Sonny Angara. 

"That is what happened in the case of other broadcast TV stations and entities in the past so there's a precedent," he told ANC. 

The Office of the Solicitor General on Sunday warned the NTC against giving ABS-CBN provisional authority because there was no law giving it the power to do so. 

Despite this "gap" in the law, "the practice has been to grant it (provisional authority) in the past," said Angara. 

The senator said he and "the majority of Congress" did not believe the provisional permit was illegal because "it has been done in the past and it has not been invalidated." 

Solicitor General Jose Calida earlier lodged a quo warranto challenge that sought to nullify ABS-CBN's franchise due to alleged abuses like illegal pay-per-view offering and foreign ownership. 

The network, which reaches millions of Filipinos through its television, radio and online platforms, said it has not violated the law in its 65-year service. is the official news website of ABS-CBN Corp.

ANC, May 5, 2020