The STAR/Boy Santos
ABS-CBN's franchise
LATEST UPDATE: October 6, 2020 - 2:27pm
LOCATION:
PHILIPPINES
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October 6, 2020

Broadcast giant ABS-CBN Corp. is returning to free TV starting Saturday after striking a deal with Zoe Broadcasting Network Inc. 

The network announces that "some entertainment shows and movies" it produces will be aired in the "rebranded" A2Z channel 11, formerly Zoe TV, the free TV channel of Jesus Is Lord Church led and founded by Eddie Villanueva.

"A2Z channel 11 will be seen on analog TV in Metro Manila and nearby provinces," the network says.

September 24, 2020

Eugenio "Gabby" Lopez III tenders his resignation as chairman emeritus and director of ABS-CBN Corporation due to personal reasons.

Lopez also steps down as director of ABS-CBN Holdings Corporation, Sky Vision Corporation, Sky Cable Corporation, First Philippine Holdings Corporation, First Gen Corporation and Rockwell Land Corporation.

"He expressed his appreciation for the trust of the stockholders as well as to his co-directors and senior management for the privilege of having served with them over the years," ABS CBN Head of Corporate Communications Kane Errol Choa says in a statement.

September 12, 2020

A group of teachers denounces anew the shutting down of ABS-CBN network, with its education platform—Knowledge Channel—just like what ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. did 48 years ago.

"In the spirit of upholding press freedom and the people's right to information, and the media's burgeoning role in education amid the pandemic, ACT supports the Knowledge Channel Foundation Inc. in its bid to extend its services and resources to the Department of Education as the public education system shifts to remote learning in response to the pandemic," says the Alliance of Concerned Teachers Philippines in a statement.

September 10, 2020

The National Telecommunications Commission recalls the frequencies assigned to broadcast giant ABS-CBN following the non-renewal of its legislative franchise.

In its decision released Thursday, the NTC points out that ABS-CBN does not have a valid franchise to continue operating television and radio broadcasting stations nationwide.

"Indubitably, the denial of Respondent's franchise renewal application in Congress, coupled with the denial of Respondent's Petition by the Supreme Court, lead to no other conclusion except that Respondent had already lost the privilege of installing, operating, and maintaining radio broadcasting stations in the country," the NTC says.

August 30, 2020

Broadcast journalist Ted Failon is leaving ABS-CBN after 30 years, the network says Sunday, adding his final appearances on "TV Patrol" and "Failon Ngayon sa TeleRadyo" will be on August 31.

"The closure of ABS-CBN's radio broadcast operations led to his painful decision and we respect it. We admire Ted's talent, passion, and commitment to radio as his most effective medium in serving the Filipino people," the network also says.

Last Friday, 12 regional "TV Patrol" programs went off the air also due to a House panel's decision in July to junk ABS-CBN's application for a new franchise.

August 26, 2020

ABS-CBN will stop production on 12 local "TV Patrol" programs on August 28, the network announces.

"This unfortunate development is the latest service affected by the denial of ABS-CBN’s franchise by the House of Representatives last July 10, which also led to the closing of ABS-CBN Regional’s operations," it also says.

The following "TV Patrol" programs will have their final broadcast on Friday:

  • TV Patrol North Luzon (Baguio, Dagupan, Ilocos, Isabela and Pampanga)
  • TV Patrol Bicol (Naga, Legazpi)
  • TV Patrol Palawan
  • TV Patrol Southern Tagalog (CALABARZON)
  • TV Patrol Central Visayas (Cebu, Dumaguete, Bohol)
  • TV Patrol Negros (Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental)
  • TV Patrol Panay (Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan, Antique, Guimaras)
  • TV Patrol Eastern Visayas (Samar, Leyte)
  • TV Patrol Northern Mindanao (Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental Lanao Del Norte, CARAGA, Dipolog)
  • TV Patrol South Central Mindanao (SOCSKSARGEN, Cotabato)
  • TV Patrol Southern Mindanao (Davao)
  • TV Patrol Chavacano (Zamboanga)

These programs go off the air as regional newspapers and media outlets grapple with the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regional newspapers, a vital source of community news, have had to reduce pages or shift to online news in recent months. 

July 22, 2020

Lawmakers of the Makabayan bloc ask the House committee on legislative franchise to submit the report and the adopted resolution denying the franchise of ABS-CBN to the plenary for ratification.

In a letter addressed to Rep. Franz Alvarez (Palawan), Rep. Carlos Zarate (Bayan Muna Party-list) points out that the decision of the House panel to deny ABS-CBN a new franchise requires the approval of the entire lower chamber of Congress.

"Again, we reiterate that it is the duty, and in fact the right, of every member of the House to voice the opinion of their constituents through a plenary vote," the letter reads.

July 16, 2020

ABS-CBN’s sports production department announces that it will stop operations after non-renewal of the legislative franchise of the media giant. 

The network said in a statement Wednesday that it is forced to cease some business operations and implement a retrenchment program covering the network and its subsidiaries.

July 15, 2020

ABS-CBN announces it will implement a retrenchment program effective August 31 as it has been forced to cease operations of some of its businesses.

"We are doing all we can to mitigate the pain that will be felt by those affected, including paying out separation and retirement benefits and providing job placement programs. The loss of their jobs comes at a time when the uncertain and perilous impact of the COVID-19 pandemic further makes our decision truly difficult, but inevitable," the network also says.

"As much as it hurts us to implement this retrenchment program, this is the only way to ensure the continued employment of the rest of our Kapamilya," it also says as it wishes those affected by retrenchment well.

"For all that you have done for ABS-CBN, maraming salamat po."

July 13, 2020

More than 500 journalists and media workers express solidarity with thousands of ABS-CBN workers who risk losing their jobs after a House panel denied the broadcast giant a new franchise.

In a statement released Monday, various journalists, editors and workers from different media organizations condemned the "unjust and cruel" decision of the House of Representatives committee on legislative franchises.

"One media outfit shut down because of the whims and trivialities of those in power is one too many, especially at a time when the public needs credible and independently verified information to make informed choices," the statement read.

 

July 12, 2020

Reporters covering the Senate on Sunday say the decision by a House panel to reject ABS-CBN's application for a new franchise "showed us that these lawmakers have become a heavy burden, a compounder of problems, and a worsener of woes to our already suffering nation."

They cite the potential loss of thousands of jobs while the country is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and say that the "serious economic repercussions" of the network shutdown are already being felt.

"The call of some lawmakers for Filipinos to move on is insensitive and an insult to the intelligence of the people," they also say. 

July 12, 2020

The Freelance Writers' Guild of the Philippines condemns the House of Representatives' decision to junk ABS-CBN Corp.'s application for a new franchise, calling it "a threat against democracy and an assault on the livelihood of thousands of workers."

In a statement, the guild said its members "sympathize with our writer colleagues, reporters, producers, directors, staff, employees, as well as third party contractual workers of the beleaguered media institution who are bound to lose their jobs, and whose incomes their families rely on."

It adds that "with this shutdown, not only are millions of Filipinos deprived of access to information, they are now deprived of access to information during this pandemic — information that will help them fully understand and cope with the crisis, and survive."

"We, the FWGP, join those who have raised their voices condemning the House of Representatives’ non-renewal of the ABS-CBN franchise. We commit to be among the guardians of democracy, using our voices and our words to speak out against tyranny and corruption. As citizens of this nation, we hold those in power accountable."

July 12, 2020

The denial of ABS-CBN's franchise is a press freedom issue, the Cebu Citizens-Press Council stresses in a statement.

"People who disagree with the House committee decision of July 10 would not be invoking vigorously the Constitution’s guarantee of press freedom if the public hearings on the franchise bills were limited to non-compliance of government regulations. The House committee looked into ABS-CBN’s alleged media bias, breach of journalism standards, and political meddling, making the exercise of press freedom part of the charges," it says.

"The House has closed down a media and business establishment for alleged violations of journalism standards. And it imposed the death penalty, so to speak, instead of the usual warning and fine. A dangerous and scary precedent for the news media," the local press council also says.

"How can this not be a press freedom issue?"

July 11, 2020

The UST Department of Communication and Media Studies releases a statement, expressing their collective indignation and outrage over the decision of the Congress to deny ABS-CBN’s application for a legislative franchise.

"This is the second time for ABS-CBN to be shut down by enemies of freedom. After a hiatus imposed by Martial Law, it roared back to life after the 1986 People Power revolt and the restoration of democracy," the department says.

"We eagerly await ABS-CBN’s return to the airwaves and along with it, the return of our freedoms," it adds.

July 11, 2020

The Liberal Party condemns the "most recent charade in Congress and its use of naked political power" in denying the bid of ABS-CBN for renewal of its franchise.

"It is not only for these freedoms that we grieve. We are equally saddened, nay, enraged by the glaring callousness for the welfare of 11, 000 workers, mostly breadwinners of families who will lose their jobs at this crucial time. Adding to the 7 million unemployed is the height of irresponsibility if not criminality," it says.

"Join us and rise to protest this outrage, even as we denounce the 70 congressmen who brought it about. The chapters of the Liberal Party will inform our people of the truth behind this issue. We shall not let it pass. We shall fight repression and injustice!” it adds. 

July 11, 2020

Opposition Sen. Leila de Lima slams the move of  the House of Representatives that rejected the franchise renewal application of media giant ABS-CBN Corp.

"Tinokhang. Ganito ang ginawa sa pagpatay sa prangkisa ng ABS-CBN," De Lima says.

"Walang laban, walang katarungan, walang konsensya!" she adds.

July 10, 2020

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines slams the decision of the two Congress committees to formally junk the bill that would have renewed ABS-CBN Corporation's legislative franchise.

"Today, not only have more than 11,000 people been stripped of their jobs, millions of Filipinos have been deprived of their right to know and their right to choose how to access the information they need to decide on their futures as well as the entertainment that allows them a respite from the hardships of life," the group says in a statement.

"But let us not mark July 10, 2020 as a day of defeat and mourning," it adds.

July 10, 2020

Rep. Alfred Vargas (Quezon City), who started his acting career as a member of ABS-CBN Star Magic, says he will abstain from voting on the franchise renewal of the network.

While the actor-turned-politician said heart "goes out" to ABS-CBN and its employees, Vargas noted that he has been engaged with the network for artistic projects as an actor and a producer.

"Thus, out of propriety and as dictated by the law, I am duty bound to inhibit myself from voting on the application for the franchise of ABS-CBN," Vargas said in a statement.

July 9, 2020

Rep. Mark Go (Baguio City) says that the country "lost one of its biggest partners in communicating to Filipinos" went ABS-CBN stopped its broadcasting services, says he backs a franchise renewal. 

"In a world where disinformation is prevalent, and information and knowledge sharing is crucial in transitioning to a new normal, are we choosing to leave behind in darkness the many Filipinos from far-flung areas reached only by signals of ABS-CBN?" he says. 

"It is a disservice to the interest of the Filipino people if we add to the rising number of unemployed Filipinos," he adds. 

July 9, 2020

Rep. Joseph Paduano (Abang Lingkod Party-list) says the company is “dodging allegations” on tax avoidance and withdraws his co-authorship for one of the bills seeking a franchise renewal for the beleaguered company. He apologizes and appeals for the public’s and his colleagues’ understanding. 

“Through biased reporting, the facility negates its advocacies of volunteerism [by reporting] without getting the side of officials. It is hard for me, I came to the conclusion that I am withdrawing,” he says. 

Nowhere in its former franchise are “bias” and “morality” and “fairness” mentioned as standards to which the company should adhere. Not even “journalism” is mentioned. 

July 6, 2020

Rep. Jesus Crispin Remulla (Cavite) says he has gotten in touch with the National Bureau of Investigation over "cyber-bullying" against him and other members of the House of Representatives who have been criticized on social media.

He claims "troll farms" have been targeting them.

July 5, 2020

The Makati Business Club calls on members of the House of Representatives to renew the franchise of ABS-CBN Corp. saying letting the network back on the air "will preserve one of the public's biggest sources of news and information."

It adds that equal treatment of companies by government officials "will signal that rule of law prevailed, encouraging foreign and local investors at a time when we most need their help to create new jobs." 

June 30, 2020

ABS-CBN's affiliate, Sky Cable Corp. appeals to the National Telecommunications Commission to extend the "same privilege given in the past to other companies whose franchises have expired but are currently pending in Congress to continue its operations until a resolution is passed."

"We assure our subscribers that we will exhaust all legal remedies to resume our services," it says in a statement.

"We commit to attend to the concerns of our valued subscribers and partners arising from this decision. We will refund all unconsumed prepaid loads and advance postpaid payments. We appeal to our SKYdirect subscribers and partners for understanding and patience as we undergo this process," it adds.

June 6, 2020

A lawyer asks the Supreme Court to define the powers of the Office of the Solicitor General amid issues surrounding the ABS-CBN shutdown.

Lawyer Paris Real also asked for a temporary restraining order on the cease and desist issuance against the broadcast giant by the National Telecommunications Commission.

June 1, 2020

Rep. Rufus Rodriguez (Cagayan de Oro) tells his fellow lawmakers that the accusations against ABS-CBN, including alleged foreign ownership, have no basis in law.

Rodriguez points out that ABS-CBN chairman emeritus Eugenio "Gabby" Lopez III was born to Filipino parents under the 1935 Constitution. In effect, he was born a Filipino citizen.

The lawmaker also stresses that there is no violation on ABS-CBN's issuance of Philippine Depositary Receipts, which have approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

June 1, 2020

Rep. Vilma Santos Recto (Batangas), sponsoring her bill granting ABS-CBN a franchise, says the network has helped the economy in creating economies by creating jobs for 11,000 people.

Santos Recto shares her concern to affected ABS-CBN employees as the House committees on legislative franchises and good government and public accountability resume their joint hearing on the network's franchise renewal.

"Marami pong umaasa sa mga talents ng ABS-CBN, kasama na rin po ang kani-kanilang mga pamilya. Let us give due consideration to the talents of ABS-CBN. They are also part of the workforce of the country," she says.

May 26, 2020

A labor group says it continues to support the re-opening of the ABS-CBN Corp. through the enactment of pending bills at the Lower House for its renewed fresh 25-year franchise.

"While we recognize the justness of the previous labor cases being involved by the ABS-CBN management to their contractual workers in the past, we believe that there were proper and legitimate forum and venue where labor disputes were being settled including the Department of Labor and Employment through its National Labor Relations Commission, National Conciliation and Mediation Boards among other local courts," says Defend Jobs Philippines.

May 26, 2020

Solicitor General Jose Calida declines the invitation to attend the House of Representatives hearing on the pending bills concerning the legislative franchise of ABS-CBN.

In a letter addressed to Rep. Franz Alvarez (Palawan), chair of the House committee on legislative franchises, Calida notes that his office had filed a quo warranto petition questioning the validity of ABS-CBN's franchise before the Supreme Court.

"The sub judice rule prohibits the undersigned, as the statutory counsel of both the Republic and the NTC, from sharing views and recommendations to relative merits of G.R. No. 251358 and G.R. No. 252119, respectively," Calida says.

May 19, 2020

Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano says they have decided to forego with the provisional franchise for broadcast giant ABS-CBN until Oct. 31, 2020. 

“I together with the House of Representatives leadership have decided to forego with the provisional franchise and immediately proceed with the hearings for the full 25-year renewal application of the ABS-CBN franchise,” says Cayetano.

May 19, 2020

Solicitor General Jose Calida declines to attend the Senate hearing on the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN as the issues to be discussed are prohibited from public discussion outside the court.

The issues on supposed violations of ABS-CBN's franchise are pending before the Supreme Court.

"Thus, these bring the case under the sub judice rule which prohibits the Solicitor General as petitioner and officer of the court from sharing his views and commenting on the merits of said case to maintain 'the dignity and authority of the court' in the administration of impartial justice," Calida says in a statement Tuesday.

May 19, 2020

The House of Representatives legislative francise committee will look into labor issues, tax evasion cases, citizenship of ABS-CBN chairman emeritus Gabby Lopez when it hears the franchise application of ABS-CBN.

According to a report from The STAR, the House panel will also discuss the network's issuance of Philippine depository receipts to non-Filipino citizens, operations in pay-per-view channel and supposed political biases in coverage.

These issues, however, have already been tackled in Senate in February, wherein the Department of Labor and Employment, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Department of Justice and National Telecommunications Commission already cleared ABS-CBN of these allegations.

May 18, 2020

STATEMENT ON ACCUSATIONS VS. ABS-CBN
May 18, 2020

ABS-CBN is stunned by the accusations raised while Congress was deliberating on House Bill 6732 – a proposal to grant a provisional franchise to ABS-CBN. The accusations have been asked and answered under oath by various government agencies as well as by ABS-CBN executives at the senate hearing last February 24.
 
In that hearing, the SEC, NTC and BIR have all testified that ABS-CBN had no violations as it relates to their specific agency. DOLE Sec. Silvestre Bello also said in an interview that ABS-CBN is fully compliant of labor standards. While ABS-CBN acknowledged that there remain pending cases including those in court, ABS-CBN will abide by the decisions of the relevant authorities as decisions on these cases are made. Accusations as to the citizenship of Mr. Gabby Lopez were also answered under oath at the Senate. Finally, ABS-CBN has acknowledged the efforts of Congress in resolving their franchise application by issuing a statement of gratitude to Congress which was issued on May 13, 2020 – the same day that the bill was introduced in Congress.
 
The accusations were made without any evidence submitted and authenticated, and without the ability for ABS-CBN to reply. We assure our public and our employees that ABS-CBN will reply to these accusations in the proper forum.

May 14, 2020

National Artist BenCab, in a statement, says he stands "with ABS-CBN and all other news organizations in the line of fire for critical coverage of events affecting the nation."

"The pandemic-related quarantine teaches us a lot about the value of freedom. We need both press freedom and freedom of expression at these critical times. We need credible and critical information to better understand what’s happening and to navigate our way forward," he also says. 

Citing a message to LODI (Let's Organize for Democracy and Integrity) in 2018, he says artists should be free and that that freedom includes "the right to create work that pushes boundaries and promotes discussion of controversial topics."

"We need the freedom to offend without fear," he says.

 

May 13, 2020

A labor group welcomes the approval of House Bill 6732 which grants ABS-CBN provisional franchise to operate until Oct. 31, 2020.

“While we welcome this move of Congress to extend the franchise of ABS-CBN until end of October this year, interim franchises to operate for the Kapamilya network will not and will never be enough as the jobs and livelihooods of its 11,000 workers remain hostages by the government,” says Thadeus Ifurung, Defend Jobs Philippines spokesperson.

“If our legislators and the government is really serious to address the public clamor to save ABS-CBN workers and in defending press freedom and the people’s right to information, then they must expedite the process and grant renewed fresh franchise for the Kapamilya network in the soonest possible time,” he adds.

May 11, 2020

Supreme Court spokesperson Brian Hosaka confirms that the petition for temporary restraining order filed by ABS-CBN against the National Telecommunications Commission's cease and desist order has been raffled to a member-in-charge.

However, the result of the raffle is confidential.

May 10, 2020

The Freelance Writer' Guild of the Philippines issues a solidarity statement for ABS-CBN's writers and media workers affected the ceast and desist order against the network

 

May 9, 2020

The Philippine Association of National Advertisers seeks for swift and fair resolution on the shutdown of ABS-CBN Corp.

"ABS-CBN's mainstreem platforms are important advertising channels for many of our members to reach and serve their audiences, and their closure is adversely disruptive to the marketing communications programs of many advertisers," PANA says.

"The closure of ABS-CBN negatively impacts many advertisers, businesses and brands, and untimately negatively impacts the millions of Filipino consumers who our member companies serve," it adds.

May 9, 2020

A labor group slams the "unjust and inhumane" closure of broadcast giant ABS-CBN Corp. by the National Telecommunication Commission.

"More than ever, in this time of Covid-19 pandemic where people need genuine and up-to-date information, media such as the ABS-CBN plays an important role in providing lifesaving information to the greater public from the cities to the remote barangays in the country and in different parts of the world," says Church People-Workers Solidarity.

"This means that the government itself attacks the right of people to information.  Information that will possibly save them from the Covid 19," it adds.

May 8, 2020

Lipa City 6th District Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto says she is hopeful that President Rodrigo Duterte would reverse the National Telecommunication Commission's cease and desist order against ABS-CBN Corp. 

"Meron na din mga meetings ang mga authors ng renewal of franchise. I'm hopeful that our  President will reverse the order of the NTC," says Santos-Recto in a text message to Philstar.com

May 8, 2020

Three days after ABS-CBN went off the air, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano passes the blame on the National Telecommunications Commission and Solicitor General Calida.

Cayetano says the NTC appears to have "succumbed to pressure" from Calida and issued a cease and desist order to ABS-CBN.

"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," Cayetano says.

May 7, 2020

ABS-CBN asks the Supreme Court for a temporary restraining order to stop the implementation of the National Telecommunications Commission's cease and desist order.

In a petition for certiorari and prohibition, the broadcast network asked the SC to nullify ans set aside the NTC's cease and desist order, according to a report from ABS-CBN reporter Mike Navallo.

ABS-CBN says the NTC gravely abised its discretion when it issued the order instead of issuing a provisional authority to allow ABS-CBN to continue operating after its legislative franchise expired on May 4.

May 7, 2020

Thirteen senators sign a resolution urging the National Telecommunications Commission to reconsider its cease and desist order against ABS-CBN.

The senators call on the NTC to allow the continuous operation of ABS-CBN, its subsidiaries and affiliates, including ABS-CBN Convergence, Sky Cable Corporation and Amcara Broadcasting Network pending its franchise renewal.

"Whereas, now more than ever, in the middle of the biggest public health crisis of our generation, the Filipino people deserve access to up-to-date new provided by a free and unfettered media, and multiple sources of information provide the best pathways for truth to emerge," the resolution read.

Sens. Risa Hontiveros, Migz Zubiri, Franklin Drilon, Ralph Recto, Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay, Pia Cayetano, Sherwin Gatchalian, Leila de Lima, Lito Lapid, Manny Pacquiao, Francis Pangilinan and Joel Villanueva signed the resolution.

May 7, 2020

Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino express solidarity with ABS-CBN workers affected by the cease and desist order against the network, saying they are "victims to the infighting of the elite — Duterte and the Lopezes — not just for political but for economic interests."
 
The group says that with the National Telecommunications Commission's order against the network, "11,000 working class families were driven to starvation and uncertainty, in a time of pandemic, with an incompetent government that could not provide for the basic needs of a hungry and quarantined population."

It adds: "The attack on the Lopezes is a signal to all private media outfits to toe the line of the administration, in this sense, it is an offensive against so-called press freedom."

May 6, 2020

"The struggle to protect a free press is the struggle to protect all our other freedoms, that’s according to the Supreme Court itself," the Justice and Court Reporters Association says in a statement on the order for ABS-CBN to stop broadcasting.

"Forcing a shutdown of a free news channel in the middle of a global pandemic, where facts and informed discussions have never been more crucial, is a disrespect to our country’s collective struggle for a free nation," it also says.

"Time and again, the media’s battlecry in the face of adversity is: an attack on one is an attack on all. But our deep sense of public service makes us certain that this is no longer about journalists – an attack on one news organization is an attack on every democractic institution."

May 6, 2020

The Liberal Party says the shutdown of broadcast giant ABS-CBN Corp. has hampered the "collective capability to respond to the current public health crisis." 

It also has "upended the lives of thousands of workers and their families, and put at risk those of many others who rely on accurate, timely, and reliable information to navigate the age of COVID-19." 

May 6, 2020

Jejomar Binay, former vice president, says the closure of ABS-CBN reminds of a similar event almost half a century ago during the iron rule of dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

"The day the network went off the air 48 years ago was also the day democracy died," Binay says in a statement.

He also urges the employees of the country's largest broadcast network to "pursue the great calling of journalism in the service of the Filipino" especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He also calls the network's shutdown a "creeping erosion of civil liberties, of which the network's closure is an eloquent example."

May 6, 2020

Solicitor General Jose Calida says the National Telecommunications Commission should not be blamed for the shutdown of ABS-CBN.

Calida, who earlier lodged a quo warranto case that sought to nullify ABS-CBN's franchise, says the bill renewing the network's franchise has been pending before Congress since 2016.

"The question we should be asking is, why hasn't Congress acted on it? Who is at fault here?" Calida says in a statement.

May 6, 2020

The Makati Business Club says the shutdown of the broadcast giant ABS-CBN Corp is a "blow to press freedom".

"It is also a setback at a time when the country needs to be united against the pandemic. Now more than ever, everyone should be working together on the singular goal of helping each other through this crisis," the business group says. 

May 6, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte is calling on his allies in the House of Representatives to vote as they please, according to their conscience on the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque says.

In an interview with ANC's "Headstart", Roque insists that the president is neutral on the matter.

"Duterte has said I should thank ABS-CBN for the help it has extended. I was even instructed to enumerate all the things ABS-CBN has done in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic," Roque says.

May 5, 2020

It has gone black. ABS-CBN's main television channel goes off-air hours after the National Telecommunications Commission issued a cease and desist order against the broadcast network.

News show TV Patrol was the last show before the channel transitioned into a white background with the words, "Hanggang sa muli, Kapamilya."

The network's radio stations, as well as cable news channel ANC, are still broadcasting, while its digital platforms continue to release content.

May 5, 2020

Labor group Defend Jobs Philippines says the National Telecommunications Commission's cease and desist order "is a clear betrayal to the station’s more than 11,000 workers and their families."

"The NTC and the national government are moving like thieves in the night while the station, its workers and the public are busy in facing the pandemic," says Thadeus Ifurung, Defend Jobs Philippines spokesperson, in a press statement.

May 5, 2020

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers says the cease and desist order against broadcast giant ABS-CBN is a "tyrannical move by the Duterte administration at a time when the Filipino people rely heavily on broadcasted news to know the state of the country amid the pandemic."

"This deplorable act will deny millions access to crucial, timely information at an extraordinary time when every development in the situation may have an impact on the people's health, safety, and life," the group says.

May 5, 2020

ABS-CBN Corp. laments the National Telecommunications Commission's order to go off-air on television and radio on Tuesday night.

In a statement, the largest broadcast network in the country says that while it will comply with the cease and desist order, millions of Filipinos will lose their source of news and entertainment as the nation deals with the COVID-19 pandemic.

It also notes that House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano gave his word that there is no move to shut down the network. Despite this and the Department of Justice's guidance, the NTC did not grant it provisional authority to continue operating as its legislative franchise lapsed on May 4.

"We trust that the government will decide on our franchise with the best interest of the Filipino people in mind, recognizing ABS-CBN’s role and efforts in providing the latest news and information during these challenging times," the network's management says.

May 5, 2020

The National Telecommunications Commission's cease and desist order is "a grave affront to both Houses of Congress where the NTC appeared in separate hearings and made a clear commitment to issue a provisional authority," Rep. Lawrence Fortun (Agusan Del Norte), says in a press statement.

"The National Telecommunications Commission has chosen to blatantly disregard the constitutional authority and prerogative of Congress on legislative franchises," he also says.

Fortun is the author of one of 11 bills on ABS-CBN's franchise.

"I implore upon the NTC to reconsider their action. There is still time for them to take it back. If they do not then they risk wrath of the fire and brimstone kind," he says.

May 5, 2020

The House of Representatives legislative franchise committee will summon National Telecommunication Commission officials over the cease and desist order issued against ABS-CBN.

Rep. Franz Alvarez (Palawan), chair of the House panel, says the NTC executives will be given a show cause order and will be made to explain why they should not be cited in contempt after disregarding the commitments they gave under oath.

The NTC official earlier committee to allow the broadcast giant to continue its operations after its franchise expires on May 4. — with report from The STAR/Edu Punay

May 5, 2020

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra says the cease and desist order against ABS-CBN is immediately executory but may still be appealed to the Regional Trial Court or the Court of Appeals.

According to Guevarra, judicial review is more appropriate than "appeal" for the case of ABS-CBN. — with report from Kristine Joy Patag

May 5, 2020

The National Telecommunications Commission "must have a very good reason" for issuing a cease and desist order against ABS-CBN, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra tells reporters.

He points out that the Department of Justice and leaders of Congress have "essentially the same view" that the NTC can issue a provisional authority for the network to operate while its franchise is pending in Congress.

"Let's wait for [NTC's] explanation," he also says.
 

May 5, 2020

The National Telecommunications Commission issues a cease and desist order against broadcast giant ABS-CBN due to the expiration of its legislative franchise.

In an order dated May 5, the NTC ordered ABS-CBN to stop operating its TV and radio broadcasting stations nationwide.

ABS-CBN was given 10 days to receipt from receipt of order to respond as to why the frequencies assigned to it should not be recalled, the NTC says in a statement.

May 4, 2020
"The Senate, the House of Representatives, and the Department of Justice itself are all in agreement that Congress may allow the [National Telecommunications Commission] to grant a provisional authority to ABS-CBN in the meantime. In fact, it was Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra who proposed and confirmed in our Senate hearings that Congress may authorize such action," Sen. Risa Hontiveros says in a press statement.
 
"It is very strange to me why the Office of the Solicitor General insists on contradicting the uniform views of not only both houses of Congress, but also the DOJ itself- to which the OSG is attached," she says.
 
The OSG is attached to the justice department for budget purposes but is a separate office.
May 3, 2020

The Office of the Solicitor General, which has a pending petition questioning the franchise of ABS-CBN Corp., cautions the National Telecommunications Commission against issuing the network a provisional authority to broadcast.

ABS-CBN Corp.'s franchise, which the OSG is questioning before the court, expires on Monday, May 4.

"[Solicitor General Jose] Calida stressed that the Constitution gives Congress the exclusive power to grant franchises to public utilities, such as broadcasting companies, in order to operate in the country. Although this legislative power may be delegated to administrative agencies through a law, at present, there is no such law giving the NTC or any other agency the power to grant franchises to broadcasting entities," OSG says in its statement.

"[A] PA should only be issued once a congressional franchise has been granted and an application for [Certificate of Public Conveyance] is pending before the NTC for approval," Calida also says in the OSG release.

March 5, 2020

Labor unions with Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino will march to the ABS-CBN compound in Quezon City on Friday, March 6, in a show of solidarity with the network's employees and talents, BMP says in a release.

Among those marching will be union members from St. Luke’s Medical Center Bonifacio Global City and University of Santo Tomas Hospital, who BMP says "will extend their support and called on the Duterte administration to protect the workers facing job insecurity."

BMP "calls on workers to unite against the threat of unemployment as it may lead to desperate and futile actions such as the hostage-taking by former security guard Alchie Paray, which could only amplify the sorry plight of contractual workers but would not put an end to the anti-labor scourge of contractualization."

March 4, 2020

Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano announces that the House committee on franchises will start a hearing on the legislative franchise of broadcast giant ABS-CBN on March 10.

The hearing is set four days before the lower chamber of Congress goes on a recess on March 14. ABS-CBN's franchise will expire on May 4.

February 27, 2020

The House of Representatives missed its chance to lead the initiative to renew the ABS-CBN franchise, a think tank says.

"Today it can be said: The entire Duterte establishment except Congress has already endorsed the renewal of the ABS-CBN franchise. Its major pillars are now openly supporting the renewal for the sake of the network’s employees —Senator Bong Go and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte," Terry Ridon of Infrawatch PH says. 

"President Rodrigo Duterte has also declared that the onus is on no one else but Congress. There is thus absolutely no more reason for Congress to delay deliberations. It is now time to decide whether to approve or reject the franchise. It has dropped the ball far too long, and it is now time to pick it up," Ridon a former House member and member of the panel on legislative franchises, says.

February 27, 2020

Media giant ABS-CBN says they are grateful to President Rodrigo Duterte for accepting their apology.

"We will coordinate with the President's office as it relates to his guidance on donating the refund to a charitable institution," the Kapamilya network says.

"ABS-CBN remains to becoming a better organization and to provide a more meaningful service to Filipinos," it adds.

 

February 27, 2020

The Department of Justice tells the National Telecommunications Commission that "there is sufficient equitable basis to allow broadcast entities to continue operating while the bills for the renewal of their respective franchise remain pending with Congress."

The NTC earlier sought guidance from the Justice department on the congressional franchise of ABS-CBN.

News5 reports that DOJ's legal guidance, signed by Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, adds that a "more stable legal environment could be created if Congress, by a concurrent resolution, would authorize the NTC to issue a provisional authority to these broadcasting companies."

February 27, 2020

ABS-CBN says they are "grateful and humbled" by President Rodrigo Duterte's acceptance of their apology over his unaired election ads in the 2016 elections.

The media network adds it will coordinate with President Rodrigo Duterte's office for the refund of the P2.6 million that ABS-CBN tried to refund him for unaired ads.

February 27, 2020

ABS-CBN says they are "grateful and humbled" by President Rodrigo Duterte's acceptance of their apology over his unaired election ads in the 2016 elections.

The media network adds it will coordinate with President Rodrigo Duterte's office for the refund of the P2.6 million that ABS-CBN tried to refund him for unaired ads.

February 26, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte says he accepts the apology of ABS-CBN.

February 26, 2020

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon files a concurrent resolution expressing the sense of the Congress that ABS-CBN should continue its operations while its franchise renewal is pending.

Drilon called on the National Telecommunications Commission to issue a provisional authority to ABS-CBN while Congress has yet to decide on the renewal of its franchise.

February 26, 2020

The Supreme Court says the deliberations on the ABS-CBN franchise will be moved on March 10.

"The case will be taken up again by the en banc on March 10, 2020. This is to give the Justices time to go over the pleadings submitted by the parties, including the comments recently filed by the respondents," says SC spokesperson Brian Hosaka. 

February 24, 2020

"We are very grateful for the opportunity given to us by the Senate to air our side and clarify issues about our franchise," ABS-CBN Corp. says in a statement on the senate hearing on its franchise issues.

The broadcast network maintained that it has not been cited for any violations with regard to tax payments, election laws, or compliance with the National Telecommunications Commission, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

President Rodrigo Duterte has accused the network of tax liabilities and failing to air his political advertisements in 2016.

ABS-CBN, however, admits that like many large companies that have been operating for a long time, it is also dealing with labor issues and other matters "related to the regular course of doing business."

"We believe in due process and will comply, as we always have, with any decisions made by the proper authorities," the statement reads. "We continue to trust in the legal processes and the fairness in the hearings for our franchise renewal."

February 21, 2020

ABS-CBN President and CEO Carlo Katigbak asks for prayers as the network's legislative franchise expires next month.

In a video message, Katigbak said ABS-CBN does not see any reason why its franchise should not be renewed. He noted that future of the network is in the hands of lawmakers.

"Sa aming mga mambabatas, nasa inyong kamay po ang kinabukasan ng ABS-CBN. Nagtitiwala po kami sa sinasabi ninyo na mabibigyan kami ng pagkakataong sagutin ang mga katanungan ng mga mamamayan," Katigbak said.

(To our legislators, the future of ABS-CBN is in your hands. We trust in what you say that we will be given an opportunity to answer the people's questions.)

February 19, 2020

The Senate Committee on Public Services will hold a hearing on ABS-CBN's franchise next Monday, News5 reports.

Sen. Grace Poe, committee chair, filed a resolution last week to look into allegations that the network giant had violated its franchise. She said later in the week that the committee could hold hearings on the proposed renewal of ABS-CBN's franchise, which has been delayed at the House of Representatives, as well.

Poe said in a press conference that they can hear the proposal to extend the franchise of the network giant even if the House of Representatives has yet to transmit their version of the bill.

February 19, 2020

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines has handed over to Rep. Carlos Zarate (Bayan Muna party-list) thousands of signatures gathered in a campaign in support of the renewal of the franchise of network giant ABS-CBN.

The signature campaign was done online and at protests and vigils held every Friday in areas of Quezon City.

February 18, 2020

The Institute of Corporate Directors, Institute for Solidarity in Asia, the Makati Business Club, and the Management Association of the Philippines, in a joint statement, "fervently urge Congress to judiciously address any issues raised" against ABS-CBN Corp. while also "taking serious account of the bedrock issues of media freedom and free enterprise."

The four business groups also "express our strong support for a balanced, fair and timely consideration" of bills filed to renew the network's franchise.

February 18, 2020

Sen. Grace Poe says the Senate will push through with its hearing on the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN despite the gag order filed by the Office of the Solicitor General.

"A motion for a gag order is what it is. Just a motion," Poe said in a statement Tuesday.

Poe, chair of the Senate Commitee on Public Services, said the Supreme Court will have to decide on the case before recognizing the jurisdiction of its co-equal branch.

"Whether it will apply the gag order on our hearings is up to the Court to decide but our hearing will push through according to our Constitutional mandate," she said.

February 18, 2020

The Office of the Solicitor General asks the Supreme Court to issue a gag order against ABS-CBN Corp. and ABS-CBN Convergence in relation to the quo warranto petition filed against the broadcast giant.

February 17, 2020

Senate Minority Franklin Drilon files a Senate joint resolution extending the franchise of ABS-CBN Corporation until Dec. 31, 2022.

Drilon filed Senate Joint Resolution 11 on February 17, noting that there are only 12 session days left before Congress adjourns March 14. The legislative franchise of broadcast giant ABS-CBN expires on March 30.

"[B]oth the Senate and the House of Representatives need additional time to review, assess and determine whether or not ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation shall be granted the renewal of its franchise," the resolution read.

February 16, 2020

It is unclear, despite assurances from lawmakers, that broadcast giant ABS-CBN can actually keep operating when it franchise exprires in March and while its renewal is pending in Congress, Sen. Grace Poe says Sunda.

"Kahit sabihin pa nila na pwede naman 'yan i-extend hanggang 2022, maganda siguro kung in writing o kaya at least verbally sabihin ng Kongreso, ‘We commit to give ABS-CBN through the National Telecommunications Commission a temporary permit to operate’ kasi hindi naman 'yan nakasulat sa batas. 'Yan ay kortesiya lamang na ibinibigay ng Kongreso at NTC,” Poe said.

(Even if they say that that can be extended up to 2022, it might be better to put it in writing or at least for Congress to say: "We commit to give ABS-CBN through the National Telecommunications Commission a temporary permit to operate" because that isn't in the law. That is only a courtesy that Congress and the NTC grants)
 
Poe, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Services, filed a resolution this week to hold hearings on alleged franchise violations by ABS-CBN Corp. and by its subsidiary ABS-CBN Converge.

A quo warranto petition has also been filed at the Supreme Court alleging those violations.

February 13, 2020

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon is backing a resolution by Sen. Grace Poe for the Senate Committee on Public Services, which she chairs, to hold hearings on alleged franchise violations by network giant ABS-CBN.

The resolution is in response to a quo warranto petition that Solicitor General Jose Calida filed at the Supreme Court questioning the networks' franchise, which expires in March.

"The Congress, not the Supreme Court, has jurisdiction to review compliance by ABS-CBN of the terms of the franchise granted by Congress, especially that there are pending bills seeking renewal of the franchise," Drilon says.

"Given the gravity of the allegations against ABS-CBN and its implications, it would be a total disservice to the Filipino people if we fail to perform our oversight function," he says.

February 13, 2020

Sen. Grace Poe, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Services, has filed a resolution to hold hearings on alleged franchise violations by network giant ABS-CBN.

Poe's resolution notes allegations by Solicitor General Jose Calida, which he made in a quo warranto petition before the Supreme Court, that the network and subsidiary ABS-CBN Converge Inc. have violated their franchises.

READ: Calida says ABS-CBN's KBO service illegal, but network says it has permits

ABS-CBN has denied violations and has said that it has followed laws all and regulations.

Poe, in her resolution, points out that ABS-CBN's franchise can be amended, altered, and repealed by Congress and says "the power to amend, alter, or repeal is corollary to the power to review the compliance of a grantee with the terms and conditions of its franchise."  

February 11, 2020

Broadcast giant ABS-CBN clarifies in a statement that it has no outstanding tax liability with the Bureau of Internal Revenue, adding that it was issued a Tax Clearance Certificate in 2019.

Here is the full statement.

February 11, 2020

The International Federation of Journalists "[condemns] the moves by the solicitor general to force the closure of ABS-CBN – the country’s largest broadcaster."

It adds: "Democracy in the Philippines will be seriously eroded by the potential elimination of such a key broadcaster and is strongly condemned by the media nationally and globally. ABS-CBN deserves the right to continue its role as a critical fourth pillar of democracy in the Philippines."

The IFJ is the world's largest organization of journalists and represents 600,000 media professionals from 187 trade unions and associations in more than 140 countries.

February 11, 2020

Sen. Kiko Pangilinan says Filipinos "should come together and resist authoritarianism" in the recent attacks against broadcast network ABS-CBN.

"This confluence of events was obviously deliberate, aimed at slowly maiming the broadcast network: the President’s incessant and open attacks, the absence of movement from the lower chamber to tackle the pending franchise renewal bills and recently, as if aiming for the kill, a quo warranto petition two months before the franchise of the network expires," Pangilinan says. 

"Stacking the government with his supporters, cracking down on the opposition, and silencing the media using all resources at his disposal are indications of the country’s slide into authoritarianism," he adds. 

February 11, 2020

The Supreme Court is requiring ABS-CBN Corp. and ABS-CBN Convergence Inc. to file their comment on the Quo Warranto petition that Solicitor General Jose Calida filed on Monday morning.

According to the Supreme Court Public Information Office, the respondents have 10 days from receipt of notice to file their comment. The 10-day period is non-extendible. you.

"The comment likewise pertains to the prayer of the Solicitor General for the issuance of a TRO or writ of preliminary injunction to enjoin ABS-CBN Corporation from further operating the KBO Channel and offering it to the public," the SC PIO says.

February 10, 2020

Rep. Lito Atienza (Buhay Party-List) pressed his colleagues in the House of Representatives to act on the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN.

In a privilege speech Monday afternoon, Atienza noted that the House committee on legislative franchises has not yet acted on the 11 bills filed calling for the renewal of ABS-CBN's franchise, which expires on March 30.

"Therefore, at this point in time we, at Buhay Party-List and the voice of the Filipino people are all united in asking, demanding in fact, that action be taken up now by the committee on franchises," Atienza said in his speech.

Atienza said Rep. Franz Alvarez (Palawan), chair of the House committee on legislative franchises, should step down if the panel will not discuss the issue.

"Are we only going to watch while the court decides on the future of this franchise? I urge each and every member of Congress today — we should demand for the committee on franchise to meet on this issue," Atienza said. 

February 10, 2020

The Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines calls broadcast giant ABS-CBN "a cornerstone of Philippine democracy and the free press for its independent and critical reportage and massive following in the country and abroad" as it criticizes the government for attempting to shut it down.

"ABS-CBN’s franchises,which the Sol-Gen sought to revoke, are due to expire next month. These moves politically harass and threaten a pillar of the media industry that employs thousands of Filipinos and has played a crucial part in helping fight official corruption and abuse for decades. Our ABS-CBN colleagues have been on the frontlines of every major breaking news in the country. They have chronicled history, and continue to hold power to account," FOCAP also says.
 

February 10, 2020

ABS-CBN Corp., which runs the largest broadcast network in the country, dismisses the Office of the Solicitor General's allegations and filing of a quo warranto case against it are "without merit."

In a statement, ABS-CBN denies that its broadcast offerings lack necessary government and regulatory approvals. It also says that the holdings' Philippine Deposit Receipts or PDRs were evaluated and approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Philippine Stock Exchange prior to its public offering.

"These are the same instruments used by other broadcast companies to raise capital for the improvement of services," the network says.

It also says it has been fully compliant with the Public Telecommunications Policy Act in its ownership structure in ABS-CBN Convergence, its telecommunications subsidiary which operates wireless phone service ABS-CBN Mobile.

February 10, 2020

The UP College of Mass Communicatio calls the quo warranto petition filed by the Office of the Solicitor General "another blatant attack on the freedom of the press."

In a statement, the college says: "To maintain and protect ou democracy, we need a free press to serve as a faithful chronicler of contemporary events; a platform for the diversity of voices to be heard; and more importantly, the public's watchdog of inept, abusive and corrupt governance."

February 10, 2020

The House of Representatives might postpone the hearing on the renewal of the franchise of ABS-CBN following the quo warranto case filed by the Office of the Solicitor General, Deputy Speaker Johnny Pimentel said.

"The OSG has mentioned that the basis for the quo warranto case is that [ABS-CBN] committed several violations and because of this the committee might decide to hold in abeyance the conduct of hearing until the matter is settled by the Supreme Court," Pimentel, author of one of the bills renewing ABS-CBN's franchise, said.

February 10, 2020

Rep. Johnny Pimentel (Surigao del Sur), deputy House speaker, says in a phone patch interview that the Office of the Solicitor General's move to file a petition at the Supreme Court against ABS-CBN's franchise is "questionable and alarming."

"It is only Congress that has the power to grant or cancel franchises," he says, adding "we have not even started hearings on the renewal."

He says that with the filing of the petition, "in effect, OSG is usurping" the power of Congress.

"With this development, this can have an adverse effect if ever we hold hearings," he says as he stresses the separaton of powers spelled out in the 1987 Constitution.

February 10, 2020

Bayan Muna says the Office of the Solicitor General has become a "biased institution" used for the political vendetta of President Rodrigo Duterte upon the filing of a quo warranto case against ABS-CBN.

Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares said the OSG should file quo warranto cases against public utilities like Meralco, Manila Water and Maynilad "which have a major impact on the people's suffering."

"Should the OSG only file a quo warranto case against ABS-CBN, merely because Pres. Rodrigo Duterte claims that some of his ads were not shown by ABS-CBN in the 2016 elections, then it is clear that it is only kowtowing to the wishes of the president instead of its self-imposed role as 'tribune of the people,'" Colmenares said. 

February 10, 2020

Rep. Rufus Rodriguez (Cagayan de Oro) says Solicitor General Jose Calida's filing of a quo warranto petition against the franchise of ABS-CBN intrudes on the power of Congress to grant franchises.

"This is an encroachment on the right of Congress to grant and revoke franchises," he says in a phone patch petition with the ABS-CBN News Channel.

He says he believes the Supreme Court will dismiss the petition, which he also says is an attack on press freedom.

February 10, 2020

Solicitor General Jose Calida has filed a petition with the Supreme Court asking it to nullify ABS-CBN's franchise, ABS-CBN reports.

Congressional franchises are granted through law.

January 2, 2020

The House of Representatives assures ABS-CBN that it would be fair and objective in reviewing its application for renewal of franchise.

Rep. Franz Alvarez (Palawan), chair of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises, said reminded the network that the grant of franchise is not a right but a privilege.

"This is why we have to hear all sides, and find out if ABS-CBN violated the provisions of its franchise," Alvarez said in a statement.

December 30, 2019

President Duterte tells ABS-CBN owners to just sell the network.

"Kung ako sa inyo, ipagbili niyo na 'yan. Kasi ang mga Filipino ngayon lang makaganti sa inyong kalokohan. And I will make sure that you will remember this episode of our times forever," he says.

 

 

December 6, 2019

The Committee to Protect Journalists, or CPJ, calls the threat not to renew the franchise of ABS-CBN as a form of censorship by the Philippine government.

"CPJ called the Presidential Spokesman’s Office for comment on Duterte’s remarks, but no one answered," the group says in a news release dated December 5. The CPJ is an American independent press freedom watchdog.

“Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte should walk back his politicized threat to shut down news broadcaster ABS-CBN, and should steer clear of intervening in its franchise renewal," says Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia representative. “Duterte’s threats aim to encourage self-censorship, and must stop now.”

December 5, 2019

The Human Rights Watch calls out President Rodrigo Duterte for "misusing" the government’s regulatory powers "to settle a score" with ABS-CBN.

Duterte, this week, threatened to shut down the TV network for the third time, accusing it of unfair reporting and allegedly taking his advertising money in the 2016 elections but then failing to run his political ads.

"But perhaps the real reason for these threats is ABS-CBN’s critical reporting of Duterte, particularly his murderous 'war on drugs.' The network has aired and published award-winning reports on the extrajudicial killings of thousands of suspected drug dealers and users by the police," HRW Asia Division Researcher Carlos Conde says.

"These actions are part of a broader crackdown on media outlets and civil society groups that dare criticize him. Philippine congress members should resist the president’s effort to shut down ABS-CBN. Appeasing a vindictive president who is hell-bent on frustrating accountability for his policies will have far-reaching implications for media freedom, human rights, and democracy in the Philippines."

ABS-CBN Corp. stopped broadcasting on its TV and radio stations on May 5, 2020 after the National Telecommunications Commission issued a cease and desist order. The network's franchise had lapsed on May 4 without action by the House of Representatives.

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