Calida finally attends House hearing, reiterates alleged violations of ABS-CBN
Solicitor General Jose Calida served as the guest of honor in the 67th founding anniversary of Criminal Investigation and Detection Group at the Camp Crame in Quezon City on February 10, 2020.
The STAR/Michael Varcas
Calida finally attends House hearing, reiterates alleged violations of ABS-CBN
Kristine Joy Patag ( - June 1, 2020 - 1:16pm

MANILA, Philippines — Solicitor General Jose Calida finally attended a congressional hearing on issues linked to the ABS-CBN Corp.’s legislative franchise on Monday.

After skipping Senate and House of Representatives’ legislative inquiries in the past weeks, Calida on Monday attended the Committee on Legislative Franchise’s hearing into several bills filed on ABS-CBN’s franchise and supposed violations of the law.

Rep. Jonathan Sy-Alvarado, chair of the House’s good government committee, said that Calida and National Telecommunications (NTC) Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba will be given time to “clarify their alleged interference on the exercise of our mandate.”

Cordoba was earlier asked by the House to explain why he should not be cited in contempt when he did not issue a provisional authority to ABS-CBN despite giving his word to the legislative body last March.

Calida, in his opening statement, stressed that he is “not at loggerheads with Congress.”

“I only cautioned NTC of its possible encroachment on the legislative power if it issues provisional authority,” the solicitor general told the panel.

Calida also stressed that he is not allowed “to answer any questions of any matters pending before the Supreme Court.”

The solicitor general has a pending quo warranto petition against the now-expired franchise of the network before the tribunal. He has also represented the NTC, as legal counsel, on ABS-CBN’s petition for certiorari against the regulatory body’s Cease and Desist Order.

The lawmakers assured that the matters that will be asked to Calida and the NTC will “be in aid of legislation only” and would not entail violating the sub judice rule, which restricts commens and disclosures pertaining to pending judicial proceedings.

State counsel’s accusations vs ABS-CBN

Calida also reiterated allegations of ABS-CBN’s violations of its franchise law, contained in his quo warranto petition.

 “The pleadings filed by the OSG and its attached documents already bear out the sins of ABS-CBN,” he said. Calida invited the lawmakers to “scrutinize” the documents they submitted to the panel.

READ: Point by point: ABS-CBN answers Solgen Calida's quo warranto petition

He stressed: “In view of this nature as grant form state a legislative franchise is not a right that can be exercised at will and pleasure. Rather it is a privilege subject to regulation under such recognition as the government may see fit.”

“In cases of misuse... or abuse of the franchise, the State ought to reassert its authority and rise as a grantor, regardless of the grantees’ identity and influence,” Calida added.

House invites Gabby Lopez to hearing

Earlier at the hearing, Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta said ABS-CBN chairman emeritus Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III should attend the hearings “as a matter of courtesy.”

Marcoleta said that there are issues that are “personal” to Lopez such as his citizenship. “I hope the representatives of ABS-CBN will find in their heart the importance of being able to motivate him, convince him to be present,” the deputy speaker also said.

Rep. Franz Alvarez (Palawan, 1st District), panel chair, said they will invite the ABS-CBN executive on the next hearing.

The network has repeatedly addressed the allegations that Lopez is an American citizen.

In a statement on May 11, ABS-CBN stressed that its chairman emeritus is a Filipino citizen, born to Filipino parents.

“The Department of Justice and the Bureau of Immigration have both recognized the Philippine citizenship from birth of Mr. Lopez as contained in Identification Certificate No. 0069 dated 1 October 2002,” it added.

The next House hearing is set on Wednesday morning.

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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