NTC recalls radio, TV frequencies of ABS-CBN

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has removed the assigned frequencies or signals and channels from ABS-CBN Corporation, two months after they failed to get another franchise in the House of Representatives.

In a decision issued on 9, 2020, the NTC has revoked all assigned frequencies on ABS-CBN radio and TV stations due to the lack of a “valid legislative franchise.”

“Indubitably, the denial of Respondent’s franchise renewal application by Congress, coupled with the denial of Respondent’s Petition by the Supreme Court, lead to no other conclusion except that Respondent had already lost the privilege of installing, operating, and maintaining radio broadcasting stations in the country,” the decision of the NTC said.

On July 10, House Committee on Legislative Franchises voted Friday to deny the franchise renewal application of ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation.

The committee adopted the Technical Working Group’s (TWG) Committee Resolution, which recommended the denial of the ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal application through 70 yes votes, 11 no votes, two inhibitions, and one abstention.

NTC recalls radio, TV frequencies of ABS-CBN

According to the TWG report, ABS-CBN committed the following violations:

  • the network’s former Chairman Eugenio Lopez III was both a Filipino and American citizen;
  • the issuance of Philippine Depositary Receipts supposedly favoring foreigners;
  • inappropriate program content;
  • meddling in politics;
  • avoidance schemes;
  • less than exemplary labor practices, among others.

The TWG also said ABS-CBN could not invoke the freedom of the press in justifying its franchise application.

“It is what it is — a denial of a privilege granted by the State because the applicant was seen as undeserving of the grant of a legislative franchise. By no means can this franchise application be related to press freedom. If it were so, then all applicants for legislative franchises covering mass media could simply claim such freedom and force the hand of this Committee each time,” the Committee Resolution read.

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said it was the owners of ABS-CBN, and not the government shut the ABS-CBN down.

“It wasn’t the government who shut ABS-CBN down, rather it was their owners’ playing fast and loose with our laws in the past decades, that made the shutdown inevitable,” Cayetano said in a statement.