NTC to issue provisional authority to ABS-CBN
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra is one of the resource persons at the Senate inquiry into bills on ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal and the network’s supposed violations held February 24, 2020.
The STAR/Geremy Pintolo

NTC to issue provisional authority to ABS-CBN

Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - March 10, 2020 - 2:51pm

MANILA, Philippines — National Telecommunications Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba at a hearing on Tuesday said that the commission intended to issue provisional authority to broadcast giant ABS-CBN despite concerns that this would only further exacerbate the network's plethora of legal troubles. 

This came as the House Legislative Franchise Committee, chaired by Rep. Franz Alvarez (Palawan), tackled ABS-CBN franchise renewal at Tuesday afternoon's hearing. 

Provisional authority allows the broadcast giant to continue operating while their franchise renewal is still pending in Congress. 

ABS-CBN Corporation's current legislative franchise, which was approved by virtue of Republic Act 7966, expires on May 4, 2020.

On February 26, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Alvarez wrote and asked NTC to issue provisional authority to the network to operate “from May 4, 2020 until such time that the Congress has made a decision on its application.”

The broadcast company has been in hot water after government lawyers on February 10 accused the network of “unlawfully exercising their legislative franchises under Republic Act No. 7966 and Republic Act No. 8332” by, among other allegations, operating the Kapamilya Box Office pay-per-view service.

Rep. Edcel Lagman (Albay) said that provisional authority was just “alternative relief” that puts ABS-CBN “into a quagmire of legal problems,” saying that this did not alleviate the need to have their franchise renewed. 

A separate Senate hearing, whose legitimacy Cayetano called into question, found that the broadcast giant complied with all laws and regulations. 

Within the lower chamber, ranking lawmakers have gone on record to say that they were asked to withdraw support for a resolution urging the House Committee on Legislative Franchises to act on bills for the renewal of the network's franchise.

READ: House reps asked to withdraw support for ABS-CBN resolution, solon says

Others have said that hearings for the bill were being stalled because they did not have clearance from Cayetano, who has admitted he held personal complaints against the network. 

This is despite Cayetano's consistent promise that the franchise renewal would be given a fair and objective hearing in the Duterte-dominated House. 

Duterte has repeatedly said that he will see that ABS-CBN's franchise will not be extended, although the Palace has also said that the president, whose words often translate into policy, will not meddle in the affairs of Congress. — with report from Kristine Joy Patag

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: January 18, 2021 - 3:38pm

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.

January 18, 2021 - 3:38pm

Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto (Batangas) has filed a bill seeking the renewal of the franchise granted to broadcast giant ABS-CBN.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III earlier filed a similar bill at the Senate, saying a majority of Filipinos get their news primarily from TV. 

Franchise bills emanate from the House of Representatives.

January 5, 2021 - 8:00pm

Malacañang is leaving it up to Congress to decide on the new bill seeking to renew the franchise of television network ABS-CBN, which was forced to lay off thousands of workers after its franchise expired last May. 

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque disagreed, saying the fate of the bill depends on lawmakers. 

"Well, again, I beg to differ; that is a sole constitutional prerogative of Congress which must originate from the House of Representatives," Roque says at a press briefing. —  Alexis Romero

January 4, 2021 - 4:53pm

Senate President Tito Sotto files a bill renewing the franchise of broadcast giant ABS-CBN, which went off the air in May.

Sotto's bill seeks to renew the franchise of ABS-CBN Corporation, which expired in March 2020, to another 25 years.

"ABS-CBN's wide reach to Filipinos, alongside with the undeniable advantages of broadcast media relative to mass communication, definitely calls for the immediate renewal of the network's franchise," Sotto says in his bill.

October 6, 2020 - 2:27pm

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 - 11:13am

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.

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