SC junks petition vs. NTC, House leaders on ABS-CBN franchise issue

Published June 2, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin


By Rey Panaligan

The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday (June 2) dismissed the petition of lawyer Lorenzo G. Gadon who pleaded the High Court to stop the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) from issuing ABS-CBN Corporation a provisional authority (PA) to operate.

This view shows the ABS-CBN network headquarters in Quezon City in the Metro Manila area on May 5, 2020. (Photo by Maria TAN / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)
This view shows the ABS-CBN network headquarters in Quezon City in the Metro Manila area on May 5, 2020. (Photo by Maria TAN / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

Gadon also asked the SC – in a petition filed last March — to compel House Speaker Alan Peter S. Cayetano and Rep. Franz E. Alvarez as chair of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises to withdraw their Feb. 26, 2020 letter sent to NTC Chairperson Gamaliel A. Cordoba on the issuance of a PA.

ABS-CBN’s 25-year franchise expired last May 4. The following day, the NTC issued a cease and desist order (CDO) that stopped the television firm’s operation.

Hours after it received the CDO, ABS-CBN halted its nationwide radio and television broadcast. Thereafter, it filed a petition with the SC against the NTC’s order and pleaded for a temporary restraining order (TRO).

The SC, however, did not issue a TRO. It required the NTC to comment on the petition and ordered that both Houses of Congress be impleaded in the petition. Both Houses of Congress were also required to file their comments.

In his petition for prohibition, Gadon told the SC that Cayetano and Alvarez’s letter-directive to Cordoba on the issuance of a PA to operate violates the doctrine of separation of powers “and issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.”

He said he was constrained to file his petition “to preserve the independence of the three branches of government, which is zealously guarded in a democratic system of government.”

Earlier, Gadon had filed a motion to withdraw his petition. He told the SC his petition has become moot and academic with the issuance of the NTC’s CDO.

SC Spokesman Atty. Brian Keith F. Hosaka said the SC did not allow the withdrawal and instead dismissed Gadon’s petition.

Hosaka said:

“In dismissing the Petition without need for a comment, the Supreme Court ruled that the Petitioner (Gadon) had failed to comply with the requisites for judicial review since he had no legal standing to question the alleged order of Respondents Cayetano and Alvarez to Respondent Cordoba.”

Hosaka also released the pertinent portions of the SC ruling:

“Filing cases in the Supreme Court is a serious affair. It should never be considered except when all the requisites of judicial review are present. Certainly, it should never be contemplated by one who admits not suffering any legal injury…It will be the real party in interest, the one who stands to suffer real legal injury, who will – at the right time – raise the issues in the proper pleading when the need arises.

“In fact, on May 7, 2020, a petition was filed by ABS-CBN Corporation. The Petitioner is too distant, his interest is too inchoate and speculative, for this Court to responsibly proceed.”