Lawyer Romulo Macalintal expressed belief that the Supreme Court (SC) will grant ABS-CBN’s petition which sought to stop the cease and desist order (CDO) issued by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) that forced the network to halt broadcasting operations.
“There are valid and compelling arguments in the petition of ABS-CBN against National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) that will justify the Supreme Court to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) or a Status Quo Ante Order (SQAO) to stop NTC from implementing its cease and desist order (CDO) against ABS-CBN or preserve the ‘status quo’ prevailing before the NTC issued the CDO,” he said in a statement.
Among the points raised in the petition, the lawyer said there is “apparent violation of the equal protection clause of the 1987 Constitution” when NTC did not apply in to ABS-CBN the commission’s March 16 order that gave an automatic 60-day extension to television facilities nationwide which have permits expiring within the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
Also, he said there were similar cases wherein TV facilities with expiring franchise were allowed to operate pending approval of the franchise bill in Congress.
“Its non-application to ABS-CBN violates the said equal protection doctrine,” Macalintal said.
Aside from this, Macalintal said NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba “reneged on his assurance in a House of Representatives (HR) hearing that a provisional authority would be issued to ABS-CBN in case its franchise expires while the franchise bill is pending consideration in Congress.”
Macalintal said the Congress relied on Cordoba’s promise and was supposed to give Congress “the luxury of time to start hearing ABS-CBN franchise bill only on March 10 or a day before Congress adjourns on March 11 without renewing the franchise.”
“The government will not suffer any loss or injury if the TRO is granted,” Macalintal said.
“On the contrary, the government will earn revenues for taxes on the P35 million daily income of ABS-CBN and the income taxes on salaries and talent fees of ABS-CBN personnel and talents,” he added.
Should a TRO not be granted, the lawyer said “ABS-CBN would suffer grave and irreparable injury as it will lose more than P35 Million a day and the damage and injury it would cause its 11,000 employees and their families and dependents.”