SolGen Calida asks the SC to junk ABS-CBN's plea

SolGen Calida asks the SC to junk ABS-CBN's plea

The Office Solicitor General (OSG) representing the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) being the counsel of the Philippine government had asked the Supreme Court (SC) to dismiss the Lopez controlled ABS-CBN Corporation’s plea for a halt order against the NTC’s cease and desist order on the media giant.

The OSG filed a 91 page comment asking the High Court to dismiss the ABS-CBN’s Petition for Certioarai for lack and merit and its prayer for a status quo ante or temporary restraining order.

Also the OSG opposed the High Court’s intention to include the Senate and House of Representatives as respondents as it said that Congress has no participation in the case.

Solicitor General Jose Calida
(photo credit to owner)

‘Not a transcendental importance’

NTC through the Solicitor General Jose Calida, said the High Court should dismiss the petition as it violated the hierarchy of courts when it directly to the SC for relief.

The SolGen also said the arguments raised by ABS-CBN would require the reception and evaluation of evidence.

SolGen Calida had previously sought to revoke ABS-CBN’s now-expired franchise through a quo warranto petition, where he alleges that the media giant of violating its own legislative franchise law.
In the petition quo warranto plea, the SolGen invoked transcendental importance and pointed out that ABS-CBN Corp. is the “largest media conglomerate in the country” that can shape public opinion on variety of issues.

The shutting down of the media giant by the CDO of the NTC has not resulted to an irreparable damage.

“Generally speaking, the petitioner must assert its own legal rights and interests, and cannot rest its claim on the legal rights and interests, and cannot rest its claim on the legal rights and interests of others,” he added.

NTC’s provisional authority and the DOJ legal guidance

The SolGen pointed that Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba’s that it would issue a provisional authority during his appearance in the House of Representatives is not binding, because NTC can only collegially.

Calida also stressed that the commissioner’s statements in the congressional hearings “cannot supersede the requirements of the law.”

Regarding the Department of Justice “legal guidance” to the NTC tht it can issue a provisional authority to the media giant is “merely persuasive and not necessarily controlling.”.

Beyond Judicial review and opposition to SC’s move to implead Congress

“The grant of a legislative franchise to operate radio and television broadcasting stations is a political question which is beyond the scope of this Honorable Court’s power of judicial review,” SolGen Calida said.
 “It may not be interfered with by the courts unless the issuing authority went beyond its statutory authority, exercised unconstitutional powers, or acted arbitrarily and without regard to his duty or with grave abuse of discretion,” the solicitor general also said.
The SolGen is also not in agreement to the High Court’s move to implead Congress, because it is is “not necessary” as they do not have a substantial interest or right in this case.

NTC’s issuance of the Cease and Desist order also did not involve the Congress, he noted.

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Report from PhilStar

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