Solicitor General Jose Calida on Wednesday (May 6) blamed Congress for having allowed ABS-CBN to shut down.
“The bill renewing ABS-CBN’s franchise has been pending in Congress since 2016,” he said in a statement.
“The question we should be asking is, why hasn’t Congress acted on it? Who is at fault here?” asked Calida.
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) issued a cease and desist order which stopped ABS-CBN from conducting broadcasting operations following warnings made by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) against issuing provisional authority that would allow the media entity to operate even after the expiration of its legislative franchise on May 4.
Calida reminded that the OSG is the legal counsel of the NTC.
“The OSG has the duty to advise the NTC of what is legal or not. We will be abdicating our duty to the NTC if we don’t advise them of the legal consequences of their actions,” he explained.
With this, he stressed that the NTC shouldn’t be blamed for what had happened to the ABS-CBN.
“Why blame NTC when they are only following the law,” Calida said.
“Without a valid and subsisting franchise from Congress, the NTC cannot allow any broadcasting entity from operating in the country,” he added.
The solicitor general reminded that this requirement is in the Constitution itself.
“The Constitution requires a prior franchise from Congress before a broadcasting entity can operate in this country. Absent a renewal, the franchise expires by operation of law. The franchise ceases to exist and the entity can no longer continue its operations as a public utility,” he cited.