Gatchalian says no need to cancel ABS-CBN franchise as it has expiry date

Published January 16, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Hannah Torregoza

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said there is no need for a ‘quo warranto’ petition to be filed before the Supreme Court (SC) to revoke the legislative franchise of network giant ABS-CBN media because there is a “natural deadline” for legislative franchises.

Sen. Sherwin T. Gatchalian (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)
Sen. Sherwin T. Gatchalian
(Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)

“I think, because a (legislative) franchise has a natural deadline, you don’t need a quo warranto (petition),” he said in a Kapihan sa Senado forum. “What is important is for Congress to start the hearing and start discussing what were the shortcomings, what should be improved, at least, that’s the issues coming out.”

Gatchalian made the comment following reports that the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) is ready to file a quo warranto case against the TV network before the SC in order to cancel its franchise.

ABS-CBN’s franchise is set to expire this March, but the House of Representatives has yet to act on bills seeking the renewal of its franchise.

But Gatchalian said that “in principle,” only Congress has the authority to issue and revoke legislative franchises. “It’s Congress’ prerogative to conduct a hearing…in principle, only Congress can issue and revoke a franchise. That’s our system.”

Gatchalian said his position on the issue was the same during then-Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno’s case, saying he believed that Sereno could be ousted only through impeachment proceedings.

“It’s hard to speculate. That’s why my view is that the hearings (on the franchise issue) should start. Without the hearings, we would not know the real issue,” he said.