The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) is sorry for blindsiding Speaker Alan Cayetano and Congress when it issued shut down ABS-CBN Corp. on May 5, a day after its franchise expired.
“We regret for failing to notify you…We are deeply saddened as well for the inconvenience we may have caused Congress,” said NTC.
But the NTC is standing firm on issuing a cease and desist order against ABS-CBN which it made it due respect to Congress’ sole power issue franchises.
This was NTC’s reply to Cayetano’s show cause order ordering it to explain why it should not be cited in contempt after Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba assured House members in a March hearing that he would issue a provisional authority to ABS-CBN to enable it to continue broadcasting even after its franchise has lapsed while Congress tackled its renewal application.
NTC said it “understands why the CDO took Congress by surprise” but it insisted that it was “made upon the good faith belief that the issuance of the PA by the NTC provided the best possible solution at that time.”
On hindsight, NTC said it could have been more open and candid and “at the very least alerted Congress of NTC’s inability based on legal grounds to issue the PA as well as its subsequent decision to issue a CDO when the franchise of ABS-CBN expired.”
“We intended no disrespect whatsoever towards Congress. On the contrary, it was precisely NTC’s full respect and recognition for Congress’ sole prerogatives that led it to desist from issuing a PA and, thereafter, to conclude that it was legally bound to issue a CDO,” said NTC.
Before issuing the CDO, NTC claimed it ssifted through a pile of opposing legal arguments on the grant of provisional authority to ABS-CBN including the Department of Justice, former Supreme Court Justices, and the Office of the Solicitor General.
“In the end, NTC’s collective assessment was that the Constitution, the laws, and jurisprudence, provided insurmountable obstacles to the issuance of a PA, notwithstanding equitable considerations,” said NTC.
” If the NTC were to issue a PA, it would have amounted to an encroachment into the exclusive domain of Congress. We understand that the licensing power of the NTC may only arise from the necessary delegation of power from the Congress through a law. In any event, the NTC notes that these issues are already before the Supreme Court and is duty-bound to desist from resolving and/or acting on such issues that are already before the Court,” it added.
The May 12 letter as signed by Cordoba; Deputy Commissioners Edgardo V. Cabarios and Delilah F. Deles; and Legal Head. Ella Blanca B. Lopez.