DOJ declines to issue legal opinion to NTC on ABS-CBN operations

Published February 24, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Jeffrey Damicog

The Department of Justice (DOJ) will no longer issue a legal opinion to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) over whether or not the agency can allow ABS-CBN to operate while the network’s legislative franchise remains pending.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra (TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO /MANILA BULLETIN)
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra (TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO /MANILA BULLETIN)

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said a reply to the request of the NTC for a DOJ legal opinion will be sent within the week.

“Even when we decline to render formal legal opinions, we nevertheless state something in our reply for the guidance of the requesting party,” he said.

Guevarra said he already cited the possible actions that could be taken on the legislative franchise of ABS-CBN in the Senate hearing on Monday (Feb. 24).

“My statement at the Senate this morning was the signal to everyone concerned, including the NTC,” he said.

In the Senate hearing, Guevarra said existing laws do not state that radio and television operations will be halted if Congress has not acted on their franchise renewal.

“This is a situation where there is a gap in the law,” he told reporters.

Guevarra called this “equity” and said considerations were made in the past where firms with expired franchises were allowed to operate while the renewal of their legislative franchise remained pending.

Read more: NTC seeks DOJ opinion on ABS-CBN franchise lapse2020/

 
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