Ex-DICT chief: NTC's cease-and-desist order vs ABS-CBN 'void from the beginning'
Employees and supporters light candles at the gate as the ABS-CBN Corporation office in Quezon City on May 5, 2020.
The STAR/Miguel de Guzman
Ex-DICT chief: NTC's cease-and-desist order vs ABS-CBN 'void from the beginning'
Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - May 11, 2020 - 12:21pm

MANILA, Philippines — The National Telecommunications Technology deprived ABS-CBN of its constitutional right to procedural due process when it issued a cease and desist order against the network on May 5, said former Department of Information and Communications Technology chief Rodolfo Salalima.

In a Facebook post, Salalima, who is also a lawyer, said that the NTC’s CDO is “void ab initio” or void from the beginning and has no force of the law.

“The CDO is illegal and void because it was issued without ABS-CBN being heard on the legal issue thereon related to its congressional franchise in violation of that company’s constitutional right to procedural due process of law,” he wrote on a Facebook post.

The NTC is an attached agency of the DICT, but Malacañang and the Department of Justice asserted that its issuance of the CDO was under the agency’s quasi-judicial authority.

‘Was there a complaint at all?’

Salalima asked whether there was any petition or complaint against the continued operation of the network due to its franchise expiry. If the petition was filed before May 5—or a day after the network’s franchise lapses—it would be premature and had no cause of action.

“If the Petition was dated and filed on May 5th with the NTC, then the CDO is also dated May 5, 2020 was clearly issued with precipitate hast3 and thus void given the interval between the filing of the petition and the issuance of the CDO—both May 5, 2020,” he pointed out.

“Was a copy of this Petition, if any, served on ABS-CBN for this public service company to reply thereto and be heard thereon? Was there a Show Cause Order issued by the NTC to ABS-CBN and was there a hearing on this Show Cause Order attended by the real parties-in-interest involving before the issuance of the CDO,” Salalima also said.

NTC gave ABS-CBN 10 days from the receipt of the CDO to explain why the frequencies assigned to it should not be recalled. The order to stop broadcasting however was immediately executory.

ABS-CBN also raised this argument in their Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition filed before the Supreme Court.

Salalima: ABS-CBN may continue to operate

The former DICT chief also said that the broadcast giant may continue to operate “as a matter of legal right and in the interest of justice and due process.”

Salalima explained that while the franchise is a privilege granted by the State, it may also become a vested right.

“Once granted and the franchisee infuses investments or resources into the franchise to make it operational, like Capital Expenses (CAPEX) for the network infrastructure and Operating Expenses (OPEX) for the salaries and wages of the workers and employees, the franchise... becomes a vested constitutional property right which cannot simple be taken away, revoked or set aside without due process of the law,” he said.

Congress at fault

The former DICT secretary however said that while the NTC may be faulted for issuing the CDO, the telecommunications regulatory body should not be made a scapegoat.

“The ultimate responsibility and fault lie on Congress, particularly the Leadership of the House of Representatives, constitutionally vested with THE exclusive plenary jurisdiction and power to hear and grant applications for franchises or extensions thereof, temporizing on ABS-CBN’s application for the extension of its franchise seasonably filed in 2016 yet,” he said.

“Non-action is the worst form of delay. Because it leaves the aggrieved without clear and speedy recourse,” Salalima stressed.

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano finally issued a statement on ABS-CBN’s closure on Friday and said that the NTC’s CDO was an “ambush.”

READ: Cayetano deflects ABS-CBN shutdown blame to NTC, Calida | FLAG: House inaction led to ABS-CBN shutdown

He deflected the blame to the NTC and Solicitor General Jose Calida, and vowed that there will be a day of reckoning.

“The Committee on Legislative Franchises will conduct hearings” that are “fair, impartial, thorough and comprehensive,” Cayetano said but failed to indicate a day for when a hearing may be held.

ABS-CBN CORP. ABS-CBN FRANCHISE DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION RODOLFO SALALIMA
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: October 6, 2020 - 2:27pm

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.

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.

September 12, 2020 - 11:56am

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 - 4:35pm

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 - 2:27pm

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.

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