MANILA — A quo warranto petition that will be lodged by the Solicitor General (SolGen) Jose Calida’s office before the Supreme Court to revoke the 25-year legislative franchise of broadcast network ABS-CBN is not an encroachment on Congress’ powers, Malacañang said on Sunday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo disputed Senator Panfilo Lacson’s claim that the proposed quo warranto petition to cancel ABS-CBN’s congressional franchise could lead to a “constitutional crisis” in the event that the high tribunal rules in Calida’s favor.
In an interview with dzIQ, Panelo said Calida has grounds to file a plea against the 25-year franchise of the local media giant.
“May trabaho ang SolGen na mag-file sa mga lumabag sa batas. Iba yung prangkisa na manggagaling sa Kongreso (The SolGen has the mandate to file a case against lawbreakers. The franchise that will come from Congress is a different issue),” the Palace official said.
“Iba naman yung nilabag mo ang prangkisa. Dalawang bagay yun (Violating the terms and conditions of the franchise is also a different issue. Those are two different things) and then both can independently be taken together,” he added.
On Saturday, Lacson said there was no need for Calida to pursue the filing of a quo warranto petition against ABS-CBN, since Congress has the jurisdiction over issues concerning legislative franchises that have been granted to private corporations.
Lacson also stressed that intervening in the issue about the ABC-CBN’s congressional franchise would infringe the legislative branch’s constitutional authority.
Quizzed if he agrees that there might be a constitutional crisis in case SolGen’s plea was approved by the high tribunal, Panelo said: “Wala. Bakit magkakaroon ng constitutional crisis (There will be none. Why will there be a constitutional crisis?”
“Well, with due respect to my good friend, Senator Lacson, it’s not only ‘yung portion na ‘yun. ‘Yun siguro ikonsulta niya muna (The petition does not only focus on that portion — issue on congressional franchise. That’s what he has to consult first),” he added.
Under Republic Act 3846, television and radio broadcasting firms in the Philippines are mandated to secure a franchise from the government before they can operate.
ABS-CBN’s supposed biased reporting and failure to run Duterte’s political advertisements during the 2016 presidential race prompted the President to make a vow that he would ensure that the broadcast network would not be successful in renewing its franchise.
The network’s 25-year franchise will expire on March 30, 2020, unless Congress and the President grant its renewal.
A congressional franchise bill needs to be first approved by the Senate and the House of Representatives before Duterte can decide on its fate.
As president, Duterte has the power to sign into law or veto bills that Congress approves. (PNA)
Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency