PH Supreme Court defers action on ABS-CBN petition to April

The Philippine Supreme Court on Tuesday, March 10 deferred action on Solicitor General Jose Calida’s quo warranto petition against network giant ABS-CBN, pushing back talks to April.

The court, sitting en banc, gave no reason for the postponement of deliberations until the court’s April 14 meeting to be held in Baguio City, according to ABS-CBN. 

Last month, Calida filed a petition before the Supreme Court for the cancellation of ABS-CBN’s 25-year franchise, alleging that the TV network reportedly violated rules set by Congress.

“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,” the solicitor general said in a statement.

The network maintained that it has complied with all the laws governing its franchise and secured all government and regulatory approvals for its operations.

Last week, several senators filed a concurrent resolution urging the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to allow ABS-CBN to operate while its renewal bid remains pending in the 18th Congress.

Among those in support of Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 7 were Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, and Senators Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay, Sherwin Gatchalian, Lito Lapid, Manny Pacquiao, Grace Poe and Joel Villanueva.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon previously filed a similar concurrent resolution, while Senator Ramon B. Revilla, Jr. filed Senate Bill No. 1374 to extend the franchise until 2020.

Palawan Rep. Franz Alvarez said the House of Representatives Legislative Franchises Committee is meeting “to come up and agree with the ground rules we’ll be using during the deliberatio” of the bills that seek to renew ABS-CBN’s franchise. 

The Congress, which began its break on Wednesday, will resume its session on May 4, the same day the network’s franchise ends.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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