'We did not violate the law': ABS-CBN says Calida allegations have no merit
'We did not violate the law': ABS-CBN says Calida allegations have no merit
Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - February 10, 2020 - 2:26pm

MANILA, Philippines — ABS-CBN Corp. on Monday afternoon said the allegations hurled against it by Solicitor General Jose Calida's quo warranto filed against the broadcast giant on Monday morning are without merit as it stressed that it has followed the law.

Calida accused the broadcasting giant of “unlawfully exercising their legislative franchises under Republic Act No. 7966 and Republic Act No. 8332” earlier that day. 

The network said it is compliant with all government regulations and that the allegations held against them were all "without merit."

According to ABS-CBN, the move to void its legislative 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."

The broadcast corporation also cited three main points in its defense: 

  1. That all of its broadcasts, particularly the Kapamilya Box Office (KBO) channel, has received its required approval from the government and were in no way disallowed by their current franchise. Calida alleged that the KBO in particular has been "pay-per-view channel [...] without prior approval or permit from the National Telecommunications Commission."
  2. That the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Philippine Stock Exchange reviewed and approved ABS-CBN Holdings’ Philippine Deposit Receipts (PDRs), which Calida called into question in filing a quo warranto against the corporation. "These are the same instruments used by other broadcast companies to raise capital for the improvement of services," the statement said. 
  3. That the legal structures that protect many other telecommunications companies are the same ones employed by ABS-CBN's ownership in ABS-CBN Convergence, particularly the Public Telecommunications Policy Act. "These are transfers that are approved under the Public Telecommunications Policy Act and are fully compliant with law," they said. 

"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," the statement read. 

Shortly after the news broke, lawmakers slammed the petition, saying it violates the separation of powers of both the legislature and the judiciary.

ABS-CBN has long been on the receiving end of President Rodrigo Duterte's threats since he was elected to his position. Towards the end of 2019, Duterte often threatened to ensure that the company's legislative franchise would not be renewed. 

Labor groups also said that such a move would endanger the livelihoods of the more than 11,000 workers of the Kapamilya network. 

ABS-CBN PRESIDENT RODRIGO DUTERTE SOLICITOR GENERAL JOSE CALIDA
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