Solicitor General Jose Calida is ecstatic that the House of Representatives has accomplished his mission: To make sure ABS-CBN stays off the air by denying its franchise application.
In a statement Saturday (July 11), Calida hailed the House Legislative Franchises Committee’s decision to withhold the grant of a new franchise to ABS-CBN over several alleged legal violations.
“Congress has done its job well. We salute Speaker Cayetano, Deputy Speaker Jesus Crispin ‘Boying’ Remulla, Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta, Committee on Legislative Franchises Chair Rep. Franz Alvarez, Rep. Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado, Rep. Mike Defensor, Rep. Elpidio Barzaga, and all those who voted in favour of the Committee Resolution for their leadership and integrity,” the Solicitor General said.
Calida had asked the Supreme Court in February to revoke ABS-CBN’s franchise through a quo warranto petition. The suit, however, was dismissed by the tribunal after the network’s franchise expired on May 4.
The Solicitor General said the House committee’s decision affirmed his findings about ABS-CBN’s alleged legal violations. These include the sale of Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDRs) to foreign investors, and its operation of a pay-per-view channel on ABS-CBN TV Plus digital receiver box without prior approval or permit from the government.
“The granting of a legislative franchise is a privilege, not a right. Congress has ascertained that ABS-CBN is unworthy of a legislative franchise, and its decision must be accorded respect,” he said.
Calida said “justice has been served” even as ABS-CBN has repeatedly denied violating any laws.
“Congress has done its duty under the Constitution, and by its action, the rule of law has been upheld,” he said.