SC junks petition vs ABS-CBN closure

June 17, 2020
Supreme Court

THE Supreme Court junked a petition filed by a lawyer who questioned the legality of the cease and desist order issued by the National Telecommunications Commission against ABS-CBN Corp.

A source disclosed that the high court rejected the petition of lawyer Paris Real for lack of legal standing.

The source added the SC turned down the request of Real for his petition to be consolidated with the one filed by ABS-CBN.

In his petition, Real wanted the House of Representatives to convene as a Committee of the Whole and deliberate on the renewal of the legislative franchise of ABS-CBN.

In a cease-and-desist order, the NTC ordered ABS-CBN to stop operating its various television and radio broadcasting stations nationwide "absent a valid franchise as required by law."

Likewise, the NTC ordered its regional offices to implement the closure order in their areas of jurisdiction.

Listed on the halt order are 42 television stations across the country, including the flagship Channel 2, 10 digital broadcast channels, 18 FM stations and 5 AM stations, including DZMM radio.

The NTC order prompted ABS-CBN to question before the SC the legality of the NTC order, and seek the issuance of a temporary restraining order.

In a 46-page petition, ABS-CBN also asked the high court to set aside the NTC's order and declare a permanent injunction against its implementation.

ABS-CBN said the NTC gravely abused its discretion when it issued the order, instead of deferring to Congress and issuing a provisional authority to allow ABS-CBN and its stations to continue operating.

ABS-CBN said the issuance of the order deviated from past practice and violated its right to equal protection of the law as well its right to due process because it was issue without due notice and hearing.

The order, ABS-CBN said, also violated the right of the public to information and curtail freedom of speech, as well as cause serious and irreparable damage on ABS-CBN and thousands of its employees if its implementation is not halted.

ABS-CBN also filed an urgent motion for special raffle so that the petition may be assigned immediately to a division.