Cayetano blames NTC, Calida for ABS-CBN’s troubles

Published May 8, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Hanah Tabios 

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano finally broke his silence amid the controversial ABS-CBN shutdown, deflecting the blame to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and Solicitor General Jose Calida.

House speaker Alan Peter Cayetano (PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN)
House speaker Alan Peter Cayetano

In a statement released Friday morning, Cayetano vowed that NTC will face the consequences for “succumbing to pressure” from the Office of the Solicitor General.

Calida had earlier warned the commissioners of the NTC that he will slap graft charges against them if they will issue a provisional permit to operate to the embattled network.

This was confirmed by a report from ABS-CBN’s Mike Navallo, confirming that Calida indeed pressured the NTC to issue a cease and desist order against ABS-CBN Corp. in a letter dated April 30, 2020.

This was contrary to what the NTC officials had promised verbally in a legislative hearing on ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal.

Cayetano said: “Last Tuesday we were all ambushed by the NTC,” to which he vowed that there will be a “reckoning” despite the “unconstitutional meddling” of the OSG “in the business of Congress.”

“So, for those asking what Congress will do, the answer is simple — our job. The Committee on Legislative Franchises will conduct hearings in a manner that is consistent with what we have always said. That is — fair, impartial, thorough, and comprehensive,” he added.

The House leader also said that as soon as he assumed his post, he had already put on record what priorities of Congress would be, including ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal.

However, some House members said that Cayetano’s leadership should be blamed for the closure of the media giant.

Meanwhile, Anakalusugan Partylist Rep. Mike Defensor, chairman of the House Committee on Public Account, called for the conduct of an investigation of officials of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), Solicitor General Jose Calida and others “for perjury and for violations of the conduct and ethical standards for public officials and employees:”

Defensor said an investigation should also be initiated to determine whether said officials who were behind the closure of ABS-CBN should be held liable for graft “and other applicable laws.” (With a report from Ben Rosario)