SC junks SolGen's suit vs ABS-CBN

June 23, 2020
ABS-CBN Broadcasting Center

THE Supreme Court yesterday junked the quo warranto petition filed by the Office of the Solicitor General which sought to forfeit the franchise of television giant ABS-CBN Corp. 

SC Public Information Office chief Brian Keith Hosaka was able to confirm from Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta that the high court indeed junked the petition for being moot and academic. 

" I was able to confirm with Chief Justice Peralta that the Supreme Court dismissed today during their En Banc meeting the Quo Warranto petition (GR No. 251358) filed by the Solicitor General against ABS CBN Corporation on the ground of mootness. However the case as against respondent ABS CBN Convergence Inc, remains pending," Hosaka said in a Viber message.

Last February 10, a "Very Urgent Omnibus Motion" which was personally filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida,  urged the high court to forfeit the franchises of ABS-CBN and ABS-CBN Convergence, Inc., saying "they are unlawfully exercising their legislative franchises."

Also, the OSG stressed the petition was meant to stop the alleged "abusive practices" of ABS CBN. 

“We want to put an end to what we discovered to be highly abusive practices of ABS-CBN benefitting a greedy few at the expense of millions of its loyal subscribers. These practices have gone unnoticed or were disregarded for years," Calida said in a statement.

ABS-CBN's franchise expired last May, prompting the National Telecommunications Commission to issue a cease-and-desist order. Several bills are pending before the Senate and House of Representatives to have the franchise extended. 

On numerous occasions, President Duterte threatened to block the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise, accusing the network of biased reporting and riling against its failure to air his political advertisement during the 2016 campaign.

Under the 1987 Constitution, the granting of a franchise to television and radio companies is a power lodged in Congress

International group Human Rights Watch decried President Duterte's moves blocking the franchise renewal, taking it as a curtailment of press freedom. The group added that lawmakers should remain "independent" from the President's whims.

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