The STAR/Boy Santos
ABS-CBN's franchise
LATEST UPDATE: March 5, 2020 - 11:42am
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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.

As we have heard today, ABS-CBN 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.

Like many other companies that have been operating or providing services for a long time, we have pending issues associated with labor as well as 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.

We continue to trust in the legal processes and the fairness in the hearings for our franchise renewal.

Thank you to everyone who showed support for us today. We hope for your continued support and prayers as we pursue the chance to continue providing meaningful and important service to the Filipino people. This is what we, and all employees of ABS-CBN, believe in.


Maraming maraming salamat po sa pagkakataong ito.

Unang-una po, nagpapasalamat kami sa buong Senado para sa pagkakataong mapakinggan ang aming panig. Sana po ay nabigyang linaw ang ilan sa mga katanungan na matagal na pong tinatanong ng marami sa ating bayan.

Gaya ng inyong narinig, wala pong mga kasong nakasampa laban sa ABS-CBN kaugnay sa pagbabayad ng buwis at pagsunod sa election laws, National Telecommunications Commission, at Securities and Exchange Commission.

Tulad ng maraming mga kumpanya na matagal nang nagseserbisyo, mayroon kaming mga nakabinbing kaso kaugnay sa labor at iba pang isyu sa pagpapatakbo ng aming negosyo. Naniniwala kami sa due process, at tulad ng dati, susunod kami sa anumang desisyon ng mga kinauukulan. 

Nawa’y magtuloy-tuloy ang pagpapahalaga sa mga prosesong naayon sa ating mga batas. Nawa’y tuloy-tuloy na umiral ang makatarungang pagdinig ng aming franchise renewal.

Maraming salamat sa lahat ng sumuporta sa amin ngayong araw. Sana po, tuloy-tuloy ang inyong suporta at panalangin hindi lamang po para sa ating mga Kapamilya, pati na rin po para sa ating mga mambabatas at mga lider ng bansa.

Marami pong salamat.

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 12, 2020

Press Statement

February 12, 2020

Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino

 Quo Warranto of ABS-CBN franchise:  Raiding by Duterte cronies without regard to workers’ welfare

The issue of the quo warranto on the franchise of ABS-CBN is attack by the authoritarian Duterte regime on press freedom, since it reveals that the state has the gall and audacity to lay pressure on the country’s biggest media network, seemingly out of vengeance against a firm that did not broadcast the president’s electoral advertisements in 2016 and apparently in preparation to the presidential race in 2020.

But it is not an attack on free press per se. Because ABS-CBN is not truly “free”. It is beholden to the interests of its owners and advertisers. The ABS-CBN management advanced the interests of the Lopezes by protecting administrations it allied itself with.

Hence, the quo warranto could only be seen as an attack on the free expression only in the sense that - because the high and mighty Lopezes were not spared from Duterte’s offensive, then all media outfits – especially small independent and alternative press – are in peril. It sends a chilling effect to institutions that they should toe the admistration’s propaganda line lest they are threatened to be put out of business.

However, the fear that the congressional franchise would not be extended is unfounded. The franchise will continue but under an ABS-CBN that is under the control of pro-Duterte oligarchs.

Crony capitalism is part and parcel of a tyrant’s playbook. We call on the independent media to look into the buy-in of Dennis Uy into the equities of ABS-CBN. The issue has resulted into a big drop not just in the market value of ABS-CBN but in other companies controlled by the Lopez holding firm.

We are seeing a reverse of the “pump and dump” scheme. Government pressure is put on a business to compel short-term owners to dump the stock, a crony aspiring majority control comes in to buy the Lopez stocks in various companies at cheaper prices, which would soon regain its lost paper value as pro-Duterte oligarchs to turn to raid another industry. The stocks of Philweb, 2Go, Manila Water, among others, are proof to this grand scheme.

Politically, the regime stood to gain in the ABS-CBN quo warranto case by intimidating the Third Estate to submission, while distracting the public from the real and immediate issue of government ineptitude on the Taal disaster, the rise of criminality and Chinese POGO, and the looming health crisis brought by NCov virus. 

As a socialist labor center, the Buklurang ng Manggagawang Pilipino could not but raise its brows on how the ABS-CBN spin doctors use the issue of job security to counter the raiding scheme of Duterte and his cabal of cronies. The country’s bourgeois press is the number one violator of labor rights and standards. Its patent practice of contractualization to the detriment of thousands of talents is well-known and well-documented. 

In paper, the State should hold the primacy of the plight of the workers in the political and economic infighting of the elite. In the ABS-CBN case, it should give main consideration to the contribution of the workers not only in the growth of the company but also to the much-purported role of the network in nation building.

But the State is not a neutral arbiter, it is an instrument by the ruling classes against the oppressed masses – and in a deformed elite democracy after Edsa 1986 – it is a weapon by the dominant clique of the ruling elite against its rivals.

February 12, 2020

Statement of the Justice and Court Reporters Association on the Solicitor-General's Action 

We, the reporters of the Justice and Court Reporters Association (JUCRA), air our disapproval over the act of Solicitor General Jose C. Calida last February 10, 2020 in calling out ABS-CBN reporter Atty. Michael Jobert Navallo during the filing of a petition for quo warranto before the Supreme Court (SC).

Calida is more than welcome to present his side in a calm, logical manner on acts and issues involving him. He has consistently refused to do so. Instead the solicitor general accused Navallo of persecuting him and urged him menacingly to "practice law" instead of journalism.

Calida, by his hostility to Atty. Navallo, failed to rise to the exacting standards of his profession both as an officer of the court and as a ranking civil servant. We take it as an affront to our constitutional right to report. We believe that such veiled threats to reporters, especially when coming from a government official, have no space in a democracy.

February 12, 2020

Statement of the PNP Press Corps on the quo warranto petition filed by the Office of the Solicitor General against ABS-CBN

FEBRUARY 11, 2020

We, at the PNP Press Corps, express serious concern on the attempt to stop the operation of ABS-CBN.

Amid various arguments pertaining to this matter, all of these still boil down to the issue of press fredom, which is enshrines in the Constitution, and which is part of the real meaning of democracy.

We stand with our fellow media workers at ABS-CBN, we stand for fair treatment and due process, and we stand for freedom of the press.


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

Defense Press Corps of the Philippines


We, the Defense Press Corps, call on Congress to renew the franchise of ABS-CBN and condemn the attempt by Solicitor General Jose Calida to intrude into a purely legislative power through the Supreme Court.

Calida's attempt, whil an overreach of his office's function, is clearly a move to utilize the country's laws as a tool for harassment and retribution.

We stand by our ABS-CBN colleagues who are among the truth tellers feared by the powerful, corrupt, and abusive. Shutting down ABS-CBN would be a triumph for the oppressor.

It has been said that a free press is the lifeblood of democracy. We cannot emphasize this enough as seeking to destroy ABS-CBN, an institution in the Philippine media industry, sends a clear warning to the country's fourth estate to carry our message or face annihilation.

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

Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility: Statement on Calida’s Quo Warranto

The Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility (CMFR) joins the call   for clarity on the legal questions arising from the latest effort to undermine media freedom: Does quo warranto apply to invalidating the franchise granted to ABS-CBN? Is it appropriate for the Solicitor General to even raise the renewal of a media enterprise to the Supreme Court? Should a franchise given to a corporation involved in the exercise of press freedom be handled in the same way as a franchise to trade in public utilities? 

CMFR sees the suit against ABS-CBN as a dangerous attempt to control and silence the free press. But Solicitor General Jose Calida’s petition has to be understood on legal grounds.

After the questionable ouster of Ma. Lourdes Sereno as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Calida appears to believe he has found a magic formula. Barely two years after that sorry scandal, the quo warranto rears its ugly head a second time during this administration.

CMFR calls on the legal community to clarify whether there is a legal basis for such use of quo warranto. Alas, lawyers may feel restrained, as those who practice law may be afraid to risk offending the powers that be, in and out of the Court.

Calida’s petition clearly serves the interests of a sulking president. Fresh from his electoral victory in 2016, President Duterte during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) attacked ABS-CBN along with Rappler and the Philippine Daily Inquirer. In 2017, he complained that ABS-CBN failed to air political ads which had already been paid for.  He harped on this grievance repeatedly, threatening to cancel the network’s franchise. However, the current petition lists other offenses subject to the authority of other agencies to evaluate, for instance, the Philippine Depositary Receipt (PDR) approved by the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC). 

Franchises in the digital age have fallen into some kind of limbo. In most countries, the franchise authority is held by independent bodies such as a federal commission on communications. The regulatory framework checks to assure a level playing field for all media companies. Court interventions do not silence and control; but aim to enforce fairness in the treatment of all parties in a conflict and to promote diversity and the abundant flow of and access to information.

The history of the media franchise in this country has favored the unfettered exchange of ideas and the practice of independent journalism — with the exception of the Martial Law period, when all free press organizations were closed down.

Do we want to drag the country back to this dark period?

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 11, 2020

PCP stands with Press Freedom

Reporters, photographers, cameramen, artists, technical crew and media professionals stand to lose their jobs if ABS-CBN shuts down. 

Everybody connected to their principals at ABS-CBN as assistants, contributors, suppliers, and others, numbering probably tenfold of the 11,000 employees of the media outfit, will also be affected. 

But more than the direct victims of the government's relentless pursuit to silence what it perceives as media critical of its work and policies, it is the public, which has been the television network's consumer in the 25 years of its current franchise, who stand to lose the most. 

ABS-CBN is, after all, nothing without its audience. Its millions of subscribers on TV Plus alone and the millions more on free-to-air TV constitute the largest chunk of the viewing public. 

To deprive them of the network’s services is to deprive them of the freedom of access to information. If President Rodrigo Duterte has a grievance on the network, the courts are the proper venue. If ABS-CBN committed lapses in its 25 years holding the franchise, then the congressional hearings are the venue. 

But to use all three branches of the government to go after the media network to stop it from airing slaps off as curtailment of media freedom and consequently the people’s right to information. 

It is the public’s right to information, the freedom of the press, and our constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression that are threatened. 

Let the people hear the arguments and let the people decide if they want to continue patronizing ABS-CBN. 

Anything less is curtailing the people’s right to know and to choose. Anything less is tantamount to tyranny. 

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

The Office of the Solicitor General’s filing of a quo warranto case against ABS-CBN on alleged violations of its franchise appears to be an effort to shut down ABS-CBN to the serious prejudice of millions of Filipinos who rely on the network for news, entertainment and public service.
These allegations cited by the Office of the Solicitor General in his press statement are without merit. ABS-CBN complies with all pertinent laws governing its franchise and has secured all necessary government and regulatory approvals for its business operations.
(1)    All our broadcast offerings, including KBO, have received the necessary government and regulatory approvals and are not prohibited by our franchise. 
(2)    ABS-CBN 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.
(3)    The ownership of ABS-CBN in ABS-CBN Convergence was undertaken under the same law and structures that have been utilized by other telecommunications companies. These are transfers that are approved under the Public Telecommunications Policy Act and are fully compliant with law. 
We reiterate that everything we do is in accordance with the law. We did not violate the law. This case appears to be an attempt to deprive Filipinos of the services of ABS-CBN. 

KBO remains one of the cheapest forms of entertainment that we can provide to the public. The capital we have raised from the PDRs has enabled us to provide services to nearly 90 percent of the Philippines and to our OFW’s all over the world. Our work with ABS-CBN Convergence supports the government policy of finding ways to bring down the cost of internet access.
The Senate, the House of Representatives, and the Executive Branch have assured the public that our franchise will be allowed to go through the proper renewal process in a fair manner. To that end, the filing of the quo warranto case is ill-timed given that Congress has already resumed its session.
We remain committed to our mission to serve the Filipino people especially at this time when millions of Filipinos rely on our services in delivering information such as the 2019 NCoV ARD, the developments in the Middle East, and updates on Taal Volcano situation as they relate to our countrymen.

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

Rappler's statement on Solicitor General Jose Calida's move to void ABS-CBN's franchise via the Supreme Court on Monday, February 10:

We at Rappler deplore the latest attempt by the Duterte administration to use the levers of state power to bring down a media company and silence Filipino journalists.

By bringing ABS-CBN to court, Solicitor General Jose Calida reminded us of the reason he remains in his position despite his office’s miserable backlog: he has no qualms spending public funds to please his master.

We know this first-hand because it was Calida who mobilized a team in 2016 to build a false case against Rappler and who secretly asked the Securities and Exchange Commission – 3 days before Christmas of December 2016 – to investigate us. This resulted in a closure order in January 2018. The Court of Appeals has since remanded the case to the SEC for reinvestigation.

On Monday, Calida said : "Like Rappler, ABS-CBN had issued Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDR) through ABS-CBN Holdings Corporation to foreigners, in violation of the foreign ownership restriction on mass media in the Constitution.

"We reiterate that PDRs are financial instruments used by media entities to allow foreign investments without violating the constitutional rule that media companies should be 100% Filipino-owned. PDRs are a common, lawful practice, and their legality has been upheld by the SC.

The Duterte administration, through Mr Calida, is resorting to legal gymnastics to push their own agenda of silencing critical media. We stand with our colleagues at ABS-CBN and share the hope that they will weather this and come out even stronger.

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."

President Duterte threatens not to renew ABS-CBN's franchise, his latest in what critics call a string of verbal attacks against dissenting media.

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