National Telecommunications Commission(NTC) ordered ABS-CBN to ceased its TV Plus services together with its other operations before Monday ends. These should have stopped when the network’s franchise license expired almost two months ago, commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba said Monday.
During the House committee on legislative franchises hearing on ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal on Monday, Cordoba noted that the Philippines’ largest network was using the franchise of AMCARA Broadcasting Network for airing shows in Channel 43.
“All broadcast operations of ABS-CBN are only authorized through its expired franchise…In other words, ABS-CBN’s airing of digital TV on Channel 43 is part of the cease and desist order because the franchise that they used for that is ABS-CBN’s franchise,” he said.
Rep. Boying Remulla (Cavite 7th District), who is also the Senior Deputy Majority Leader, said ABS-CBN’s operations for the past two months were illegal. He previously questioned if ABS-CBN chairman emeritus Gabby Lopez was “100% Filipino or 100% American or 50% Filipino or 50% American.”
Remulla added allowing ABS-CBN to operate after May 4 using an expired franchise could warrant grounds to file charges against Cordoba.
“[Provisional authority] was predicated on the effectivity of the franchise of the corporation…Cordoba should resign because he is not doing his job,” Rep. Rodante Marcoleta (Sagip Party-list) said.
“The law is the law, and we have to obey that. Today, the continuing use of that frequency should stop,” Rep. Mike Defensor (Anakalusugan Party-list) added.
Meanwhile, ABS-CBN Corp CEO Carlo Katigbak said the network would be willing to abide by the decision of NTC but appealed for due process. He also asked the committees to allow broadcast while the House continues its hearing on ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal.
“In the past, the NTC has permitted other companies whose franchises have expired and were currently being deliberated to continue with their operations until such time as either the application is approved or denied. We would like permission to ask for the same privilege to be extended to ABS-CBN in the spirit of fairness,” he said.
“The cease and desist order does not cover Channel 43. It’s not on the list… A block-time arrangement is a standard commercial agreement that is quite common in the broadcast industry. Many other broadcasters do this as well,” he added.