ABS-CBN can’t continue operating without new license - Puno

ABS-CBN can’t continue operating without new license - Puno

ABS-CBN might have just thought with the Senate hearing finished, they have senator Grace Poe to thank for.
After ABS-CBN Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Carlo Katigbak apologize to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for the company’s shortcomings.

From there on and with the Justice Secretary Guevarra’s opinion that the tv network can continue to air its programs it would seem they were already ok for the renewal of their legislative franchise.
Retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno
(photo credit to owner)

Up until former Chief Justice Reynato Puno gave his opinion that a TV network could no longer operate once its legislative franchise expired, unless it got a new broadcast license from Congress.
In an exclusive interview with CNN Philippines the retired Chief Justice said the High Court has ruled a a TV station was required to have a franchise and that the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) could not grant it a provisional permit without the license.
The former Head Magistrate points to the Feb. 17, 2003,a unanimous decision of the Supreme Court’s Third Division in Associated Communications & Wireless Services-United Broadcasting Networks versus NTC, which he penned before he was appointed chief justice in 2006.

“We were unanimous in holding that there is need for a franchise before the NTC can grant a provisional permit,’’ Puno said in the interview. “Without a franchise, the television station concerned has to cease operations.”

The High Court ruling thus upheld the requirement of a congressional franchise for the operation of a TV station.

“As long as the law remains unchanged, the requirement of a franchise to operate a television station must be upheld,” the ruling concluded. It added that calls to dispense with this requirement must be addressed to Congress “for the court’s function is to interpret and not to rewrite the law.”

The NTC has no authority to issue a provisional license

The 2003 decision according to CJ Puno was unanimously carried by the other division members: eventual Chief Justices Renato Corona and Artemio Panganiban, eventual Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales and then Associate Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez. CJ Puno also pointed out that NTC, which serves as the regulator of TV and radio stations, had no authority to issue a provisional license to an entity lacking a franchise from Congress.

This is according to Republic Act No. 7925, or the Public Telecommunications Policy Act of 1995, the former chief justice said.

“They (NTC) don’t have this power [to issue a provisional license] without a franchise given by Congress. This is RA 7925 itself which defines the powers of the NTC,” Puno said.

If there is no franchise issued by Congress, ABS-CBN “cannot operate because of that decision by the Supreme Court and the laws we have, particularly RA 7925,” he went on.

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