Blindsided by the act of NTC,Poe says ABS-CBN shutdown a wake-up call

Blindsided by the act of NTC,Poe says ABS-CBN shutdown a wake-up call

Senator Grace Poe felt blindsided by the act of the National Telecommunications Commission's (NTC) cease and desist order against ABS-CBN after the agency she said agreed to provide a provisionary authority after ABS-CBN’s franchise expired last May 4.

"We were all blindsided by the order of the National Telecommunications Commission because it was against their pronouncement when they were in the Senate. At that time, it was quite clear that based on precedence and based also on what the Department of Justice had said, meaning there should be equity in the gap of the law, that the NTC can really go ahead and give a provisional authority to operate," Poe said on ANC's Headstart.

The senator said the NTC had issued provisional authorities to other broadcast companies whose franchises have expired but have had their renewal lodged in either House of Representatives or the Senate.

(screengrabbed from ANC's Headstart)

"Clearly, it confuses us why now is the NTC having this position? Either, they were duplicitous and deceitful in the hearings or they were pressured by the letter of SolGen [Jose] Calida," she said.

It might be remembered that early this week Solicitor General issued a warning to the NTC officials if they would issue a provisional authority for ABS-CBN and its subsidiary, ABS-CBN Convergence Inc.,they are opening themselves to a possible charges against the Graft and Corrupt Practices act.

"I, myself can’t understand why the Solicitor General who is supposed to be defending a government agency is in fact the one pressuring a government agency and threatening a case against it," said Poe.

Senator Poe who chairs the Senate Committee on Franchises said NTC earlier issued a memorandum on automatic renewal of expiring permits of broadcast and pay-TV facilities during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). 

"Granted that they did not specify franchises, but that’s clearly the point. At this time when we're experiencing this pandemic and focus should be on mass testing, fighting the coronavirus, the timing of this is really suspect," she said.
She added, "Although franchises are given by congressional grace, the basis of this is still public service. What public service is being provided? Number 1, Information. Members of media are frontliners. They are the ones that cover what’s happening in society. They’re helping the government explain regulations of this ECQ and aside from that, ABS-CBN is also providing jobs to 11,000 people."

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Report from ABS-CBN News

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