Agusan del Norte Rep. Lawrence Fortun has formalized his objection to the action of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) against ABS-CBN by filing a still unnumbered House resolution condemning the NTC’s “wanton disregard of its commitment to both House of Congress to grant the broadcasting network provisional authorty to operate pending renewal of its franchise.”
The congressman said he filed the resolution because he “strongly believes the House of Representatives has to officially express its sentiment on the contemptuous act of the NTC that is effectively a brazen mockery of both Houses of Congress.”
Fortun also said, “This is lesson learned for the House of Representatives.”
“Had the House acted on the franchise renewal bills early on and passed the necessary legislation, this would not have reached this point where the decision to allow the continued operation of the network had been placed in the hands of a disingenuous Commission,” he said.
“We have been misled by an agency led by people that have no qualms about wantonly disregarding a commitment made under oath in official proceedings of both the Senate and the House of Representatives,” Fortun said.
“Now that the NTC blatantly reneged on its commitment, the Committee on Legislative Franchises, consistent with its expressed intent to allow the continued and unhampered operation of ABS-CBN, has to act expeditiously, consolidate the franchise bills and approve a substitute bill,” Fortun added.
“As to the quo warranto petition filed by the Solicitor General, the same may already be dismissed by the Supreme Court for being moot and academic,” he said.
“The petition seeks to revoke ABS-CBN’s franchise, and technically, there is no franchise to revoke anymore, the same having expired already,” noted Fortun, a lawyer.
“The argument, however, that new bills will have to be filed because there is nothing to renew anymore does not hold water. The pending bills provide not for renewal of franchise, but simply, grant of franchise,” he added.