NTC orders ABS-CBN to stop operations over expired franchise

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The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has ordered ABS-CBN to stop its operations, including different TV and radio stations in the country, citing its legislative franchise already expired.

In an order issued on May 05, 2020, the NTC directed ABS-CBN to stop operating in various television and radio broadcasting stations nationwide, absent a valid congressional franchise that expired on May 4, 2020.

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“The NTC Regional Offices shall implement the closure order in their respective areas of jurisdiction,” NTC said in a statement.

“Upon the expiration of RA 7966, ABS-CBN no longer has a valid and subsisting congressional franchise as required by Act No. 3846,” it said in a statement.

NTC cited Republic Act No. 3846 or the Radio Control Law which states that “no person, firm, company, association, or corporation shall construct, install, establish, or operate a radio transmitting station, or radio receiving station used for commercial purposes, or a radio broadcasting station, without having first obtained a franchise therefor from the Congress of the Philippines.”

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NTC earlier said it would grant ABS-CBN a provisional authority to continue its operations. But it now gave the media outlet ten days from receipt of the order to respond.

“After receipt of ABS-CBN’s response, the NTC shall schedule the case for hearing at the earls time after he Enhanced Community Quarantine is lifted by the Government,” NTC said.

The order came days after the Office of the Solicitor General warned NTC commissioners that they could face Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act charges if NTC would issue ABS-CBN Corp. and its affiliate ABS Convergence Inc. a provisional authority (PA) to operate after its franchise expires on May 4, 2020.

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NTC order ABS-CBN to stop operations over expired franchise

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque on Monday, said the fate of broadcasting company ABS-CBN would solely depend on the decision of the NTC.

“Ang Solicitor General ay alter ego ng ating Presidente, at sumulat nga siya sa NTC. This must be dealt with by the NTC as a quasi-judicial body,” Roque said.

(The Solicitor General is the alter ego of our President, and he indeed wrote to NTC. This must be dealt with by the NTC as a quasi-judicial body.)

“Aantayin po natin ang sagot ng NTC. Ang desisyon po ng NTC ang ipapatupad ng Presidente. Hindi puwedeng impluwensiyahan ng Presidente ang NTC,” Roque added.

(We will wait for the NTC’s answer. The President will implement the decision of NTC. The President cannot influence the NTC.)

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