Palace: Quo warranto petition vs ABS-CBN not attack on press freedom

Published January 16, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Argyll Geducos

Malacañang said the decision of Solicitor General (SolGen) Jose Calida to file a ‘quo warranto’ petition against broadcast media giant ABS-CBN was not an attack on press freedom because nobody can invoke press freedom if they violated a law.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo made the statement after it was reported that Calida would ask the Supreme Court (SC) to revoke ABS-CBN’s franchise through a quo warranto petition.

He told reporters Monday that ABS-CBN cannot play the “press freedom” card since the network supposedly violated the conditions of their franchise. “Basta may violation ang batas, hindi pwedeng pumasok ang press freedom. Kasi ang press freedom meron ding limitation, eh (As long as there is a law violated, you cannot argue press freedom because it also has limitations).”

Calida’s decision to file a quo warranto petition against ABS-CBN came two months before the network’s franchise expires, unless Congress renews it for another 25 years.

President Duterte has repeatedly threatened to block ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal for their supposed failure to air his campaign ads when he was still running for the presidency in 2016.

In his press briefing, Panelo said that while it was possible that Duterte’s remarks prompted Calida’s move, the solicitor general was only doing his job to go against those who violated the law.

“Of course,” Panelo said, when asked if Calida can act without the directive of the President.
“You must remember that the job of the SolGen is to file the appropriate petitions when he sees or feels that there is a transgression of franchises or any law for that matter.”

According to the rules of civil procedure, a quo warranto petition can be filed against a person who usurps, intrudes into, or unlawfully holds or exercises a public office, position, or franchise.