NTC to stop operations of ABS-CBN TV Plus, affiliate network

Published June 29, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Ben Rosario

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) told the House of Representatives Monday night it will also stop two outlets airing ABS-CBN broadcast from operating.

Following intense grilling during the joint hearing of the House Committees on Legislative Franchise and on Good Government, NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba vowed to finalize and issue a cease and desist order (CDO) against Amcara Broadcasting Network that operates Channel 43 and the ABS-CBN TV Plus.

Deputy Speaker and Sagip Partylist Rep. Rodante Marcoleta, together with Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor and Crispin Remulla (NUP, Cavite), said Amcara and ABS-CBN TV Plus are but extensions of ABS-CBN Corporation that the NTC ordered shut down following the expiration of its legislative franchise on May 4.

Cordoba vowed to Marcoleta that an alias CDO for the two ABS-CBN broadcast linkages should be expected to be finalized Monday night.

ABS-CBN chief executive officer Carlo Katigbak appealed for due process before the CDO should be issued.

“Ang hinihingi namin prior to the CDO is to give us a chance to defend ourselves. While we don’t have a choice but to comply with the order of a regulatory authority, we just want to be heard,” said Katigbak.

Before informing lawmakers of the NTC decision, Cordoba said they consulted with Solicitor General Jose Calida, who advised the body to close down TV Plus and Channel 43.

He explained that the CDO issued on May 4 should have been enough to cover the two which are now airing ABS-CBN programs. Thus, issuance of an alias CDO will be the next move.

Marcoleta, whose interpellation time limit of five minutes was extended for 45 minutes more upon the consent of nine colleagues, rejected claims made by ABS-CBN that it is a mere “block timer” at Amcara.

The House official noted that both ABS-CBN and Amcara share the same address. He also pointed out that Amcara has unlawfully been airing on digital format over Metro Manila which is not included in the provisional authority granted by NTC.

Testifying before the joint panel, Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas president Jun Nicdao said block-time agreements are standard practice in the broadcast industry and are not considered illegal.

“Blocktimers do not need a franchise to buy airtime from a broadcasting station,” said Nicdao.

Marcoleta also chided the Kapamilya network for violating a direct order from the NTC to refrain from airing on pay-per-view (PPV) TV the controversial world title fight between Senator Manny Pacquiao and American champion Floyd Mayweather.

“We have already sold tickets to many people. We also had a commitment to the public so we decided to pursue it,” Katigbak explained.

According to the network official, the letter seeking NTC’s approval of the PPV was sent on April 1, 2005 but the regulatory body wrote back to reject the request on April 29, or three days before the scheduled fight.

Responding to lawmakers who questioned the broadcast of ABS-CBN programs on SKY that has a lapsed franchise, Katigbak pointed out that the NTC also allowed other companies whose franchises had expired to continue operating while Congress deliberated on their franchise, saying it will affect a massive number of viewers.