OSG mulls appealing SC dismissal of petition vs 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
OSG mulls appealing SC dismissal of petition vs ABS-CBN
Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - June 26, 2020 - 10:15am

MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Solicitor General said it will study filing an appeal to overturn the Supreme Court’s dismissal of its quo warranto petition against ABS-CBN’s legislative franchise.

The SC, in an en banc session on June 23, junked Solicitor General Jose Calida’s quo warranto petition against ABS-CBN Corp.’s now-expired franchise for being moot.

The OSG said it has yet to receive a copy of the SC ruling, but it added: “Once a copy of the decision has been obtained, the OSG will study the filing of a motion for reconsideration, in necessary given the constitutional issue on foreign ownership raised in the OSG petition,” it said in a statement.

Foreign ownership issues

One of the grounds Calida raised in his quo warranto petition is that ABS-CBN Corp. violated its franchise law by allowing foreign ownership of the company, through the use of the Philippine Depositary Receipts.

Section 11, Article XVI of the Constitution provides: “The ownership and management of mass media shall be limited to citizens of the Philippines, or to corporations, cooperatives or associations, wholly-owned and managed by such citizens.”

PDRs, meanwhile, are financial instruments that give foreign investors a passive economic interest in a Philippine company.

ABS-CBN’s PDRs is also one of the issues being discussed at the House of Representatives’ hearing into franchise bills.

Both ABS-CBN and GMA, another media giant in the country, offer this type of security.

The network’s representatives insisted the PDRs were issued by ABS-CBN Holdings, which is a different company from ABS-CBN Corp. In its comment filed before the SC, the media giant explained that “PDR holders’ rights are not equivalent to the full beneficial ownership rights of the shareholders of ABS-CBN.”

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

In a hearing last June 11, Securities and Exchange Commissioner Ephyro Amatong said, as quoted in a CNN Philippines report, there was the “prevailing opinion” that when ABS-CBN Holding issued PDRs in 1999 and 2013, that these “were not evidence of ownership.”

Amatong had also said that as far as the SEC is concerned, both ABS-CBN and GMA acted in good faith when they offered PDRs to the public and that no violations were committed by the two companies.

Quo warranto vs ABS-CBN’s Convergence still pending

Calida also noted that his quo warranto petition against ABS’CBN subsidiary, Convergence Inc., remains pending before the SC.

“Notably, the [SC] did not delve on the issues in the case of ABS-CBN Convergence Inc.,” the statement read.

The company, however, issued a disclosure at the Philippine Stock Exchange saying that Convergence’s legislative franchise expired on March 17.

ABS-CBN’s petition for certiorari against the National Telecommunications Commission’s Cease and Desist Order issued May 5 also remains pending before the tribunal. — with reports from Ian Nicolas Cigaral

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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