ABS-CBN fate now up to SC, says Drilon
“The only possible remedy is the case before the Supreme Court – the TRO (temporary restraining order) sought by ABS-CBN,” Drilon told Teleradyo yesterday.
STAR/Geremy Pintolo, file

ABS-CBN fate now up to SC, says Drilon

Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - May 21, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — With Congress adjourning sine die in six days, the fate of ABS-CBN and its 11,000 employees who face possible retrenchment in August now lies with the Supreme Court (SC), according to Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon.

“The only possible remedy is the case before the Supreme Court – the TRO (temporary restraining order) sought by ABS-CBN,” Drilon told Teleradyo yesterday.

The broadcasting giant had earlier asked the SC for a TRO against the cease-and-desist order issued by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

The SC on Tuesday gave the NTC 10 days to reply and another five days for ABS-CBN to respond accordingly.

Drilon, a former justice secretary, said ABS-CBN should just hope for a speedy intervention from the SC.

The senator also took up the cudgels for the network’s 11,000 employees, saying that while the network will continue to pay them their salaries for three months following the shutdown, some of them may end up jobless come August if the franchise is not acted upon with haste.

“Nobody will be harmed if ABS-CBN is granted a provisional franchise. No one will be run over, no one will be hurt except the 11,000 employees of ABS-CBN if it has no provisional franchise,” he said.

“The ball is with the House of Representatives insofar as the ABS-CBN franchise is concerned. If they do not send us anything, then we cannot debate, consider and pass it,” he added.

If the House can pass the franchise of ABS-CBN in August, the Senate can pass it immediately or by mid-August or end-August at the latest, according to Drilon.

“It is not a problem with us. The problem lies with the House of Representatives,” he said.

Another remedy that Drilon is seeking is the passage of Senate Bill 1530, which he filed last week, providing for the non-expiration of a franchise pending renewal in Congress.

SB 1530 amends Section 18, Book VII, Chapter 3 of the Revised Administrative Code, which provides for the non-expiration of a license when the licensee is able to file a timely and sufficient application for renewal, until a final determination by the agency is made.

The amendment expands the provision to also include franchises granted by Congress. Under the bill, there is considered to be a final determination when the agency or department has either approved or denied the application.

The bill is set for committee hearing next week.

Sen. Sonny Angara said he respects the decision of the House to revert Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano’s bill seeking to grant the network a provisional franchise to the committee on legislative franchises. Delon Porcalla

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