Senate to invite NTC execs to receive resolution on continued operation of ABS-CBN

Published March 6, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Vanne Elaine Terrazola

The Senate will be inviting officials of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to receive the resolution supporting the continued operations of ABS-CBN.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri (Senator Miguel Zubiri's Official Facebook Page / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri (Senator Miguel Zubiri’s Official Facebook Page / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri on Thursday said NTC officials were invited to attend their session on Monday, March 9, to receive the official copy of Senate Resolution No. 40, which expresses the chamber’s view that ABS-CBN Corporation and its subsidiaries should be allowed and granted the provisional authority to continue operating while awaiting Congress’ action on its franchise renewal application.

The broadcast company’s 25-year legislative franchise is set to expire on May 4.

Congress, meantime, will go on a two-month break starting March 14.

“By Monday (March 9), the official resolution will be printed and signed by the Senate leadership. At iimbitahin namin ang NTC na dumalo dito sa Senado para ibigay namin sa kanila officially ang resolution on the sense of the Senate (And we will invite the NTC to attend so we can give them officially the resolution on the sense of the Senate),” Zubiri said in a text message.

“Sapat na dapat ‘yan para mabigyan ang ABS-CBN nang provisional authority to operate habang pending ang kanilang franchise (That should be enough so ABS-CBN would be granted a provision authority to operate while their franchise is pending),” he added.

On Wednesday, the Upper Chamber adopted Resolution No. 40 following the NTC’s request for a congressional authority for it to allow ABS-CBN’s operations despite the expiration of its franchise.

It was a consolidation of four resolutions filed by senators from both the majority and minority blocs.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilok, who sponsored the resolution, had said the Senate does not intend to impose on the NTC its position, and that legal issues arising from its grant of a provisional authority should be settled in the judiciary.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said he was confident that the grant of the provisional authority will hurdle legal questions, since it was backed by a guidance from Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra who said that Congress may authorize the NTC to allow ABS-CBN’s continued operations.

“Dahil nga high profile ang ABS-CBN, maraming gustong i-test itong provisional authority theory. Pero in my view, dahil pinagaralan ng mabuti ito ng DOJ, we’re taking the view of the DOJ, may legal basis naman yung pag issue ng provisional authority, lalo na kung merong resolution na manggagaling sa Senado,” he said.

(Because ABS-CBN is high profile, many would want to test this provisional authority theory but in my view, because this was studied by the Department of Justice, we’re taking the view of the DOJ. There is legal basis on the issuance of the provisional authority, especially if there is a resolution coming from the Senate.)