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Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra can decline giving the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) a legal opinion concerning the lapse of the legislative franchise of ABS-CBN, said Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete.

“The power of the SoJ to issue legal opinions includes the power to decline rendering one, especially in cases when the right of private persons or entities may be affected, or when the query may relate to a justiciable controversy,” explained Perete.

“That said, the SoJ may opt to provide guidance or advice on possible courses of action that may be taken in accordance with certain precepts and principles without necessarily passing upon the validity of rights claimed,” he added.

Unable to know what steps to take, the NTC earlier asked Guevarra for a legal opinion on whether to allow ABS-CBN to operate even after its legislative franchise has lapsed and the Senate has yet to approve the renewal.

Perete explained Guevarra had to consider if the legal opinion “will not preempt courts from passing upon the validity or invalidity of private rights claimed, and intrude in the court’s power of resolving justiciable controversies.”

“Otherwise, private parties will demand opinions and rely on them to advance their claims before courts and other bodies,” he said.

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