Supporters and employees of ABS-CBN, the country's largest broadcast network, hold placards as they join a protest in front of the ABS-CBN building in Manila on February 21, 2020. Philippines' government lawyers moved on February 10 to strip the nation's biggest media group of its operating franchise in what campaigners branded a fresh attack on press freedom under President Rodrigo Duterte.
AFP/Basilio Sepe
ABS-CBN answers Calida's quo warranto petition vs franchise
Kristine Joy Patag ( - February 24, 2020 - 12:23pm

MANILA, Philippines — ABS-CBN Corp. and its subsidiary ABS-CBN Convergence Inc. answered allegations of violations against its franchise thrown by Solicitor General Jose Calida on Monday.

The network giant filed the comment on the Office of the Solicitor General's quo warranto petition before the Supreme Court on Monday, the same morning that the Senate hears bills calling for franchise renewal of the network and looks into supposed violations against its franchise law.

A copy of the comment however has yet to be made public as of this story’s posting.

Solicitor General Jose Calida accused the network of violating Republic Act 7966, its franchise law, and RA 8332, which granted a franchise to Multi-Media Telephony.

He said in a statement released on the day of filing: “We want to put an end to what we discovered to be highly abusive practices of ABS-CBN benefitting a greedy few at the expense of millions of its loyal subscribers. These practices have gone unnoticed or were disregarded for years.”

Calida accused the network of foreign ownership through the issuance of Philippine Depositary Receipts, financial tools that give foreign investors a passive economic ownership restriction in a Philippine company.

He also said that the ABS-CBN is operating its Kapamilya Box Office Channel without permit from the National Telecommunications Commission.

ABS-CBN Convergence, the network’s subsidiary, is accused of resorting to “corporate layering” for using the franchise of Multi-media Telephony without Congressional approval.

The network, in an earlier released statement, denied all the allegations and asserted that it does not violate the laws.

This is a developing story.

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