Sorsogon Governor and former senator Francis “Chiz,” Escudero said President Rodrigo Duterte could still reverse the closure of ABS-CBN since the National Telecommunications Commission’s (NTC) is under his office.
“PRRD (Duterte’s initials) can reverse the order of the NTC, being under the OP,” Escudero, who is also a lawyer, said in a Twitter post.
“This is not the time to deprive the people (with) information re: the pandemic and following his humbling realization re: Ayala and Pangilinan. Government needs all the help it can get to fight COVID-19,” he said.
The President earlier apologized to business tycoons Manny Pangilinan and the Ayala clan for his “hurtful words” he said against them.
Escudero explained that while Duterte could overturn NTC’s cease and desist order, the Congress should still process ABS-CBN’s pending franchise application.
“The House of Representatives and, later on, the Senate can and should act, one way or the other, on the franchise application of ABS-CBN,” he said.
“They (especially the House) cannot and should not simply pay lip service and then sit on it while supposedly awaiting signals from Malacanang,” the governor added.
Also read: Duterte thanks ABS-CBN for COVID-19 efforts
Roque opposes Escudero, reiterates Duterte cannot reverse ABS-CBN closure order
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque contradicted Escudero’s claim, citing the NTC is attached to the Department of Information and Communications Technology but “only for purposes of policies and programs.”
“All its decisions are made in a quasi-judicial capacity,” Roque said ABS-CBN News Channel.
“If the President can even exercise appellate jurisdiction to the decisions of the NTC then perhaps the President can intervene. The reality is no. We do not have appellate jurisdiction,” he added.
Escudero, however, answered “whether or not to issue a provisional permit is not ‘quasi-judicial’ in nature but administrative and, given past practices, ministerial in nature. That the CDO (cease and desist order) was issued w/o due process (notice & hearing) negates the position that it is quasi-judicial.”
“Perhaps over-zealousness has overtaken ‘some of the President’s men’ and they need to be reined in and guided accordingly especially during this pandemic,” the former senator said in another tweet.
The Philippines’ largest network ABS-CBN Corporation which has been on the air in the last 73 years, officially signed off last night following NTC’s order.