Panelo: ABS-CBN closure different from 1972 martial law shutdown

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ABS-CBN closure different from 1972 martial law shutdown
On September 22, 1972, ABS-CBN was shut down after then-President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law. (Image from ABS-CBN News)

Presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo said Wednesday is not a repeat of the broadcasting company’s shutdown during martial law in 1972, citing the decision should not be blamed to President Rodrigo Duterte.

Panelo said Philippines’ largest network was “barking at the wrong tree” as the House of Representatives has the sole authority to renew ABS-CBN’s franchise.

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“Under his watch but not his fault. It was not his fault, it was not his vision. You cannot put the blame on him. ABS-CBN knew from the very start that its franchise would be expiring. It should’ve done its part in asking Congress to do its job. If it did and Congress has not done its task, then why can you be blaming the President for that?” Panelo told ANC.

ABS-CBN Corporation said in a statement Tuesday that all of its television and radio stations will be officially signing off tonight following the National Telecommunications Commission’s cease and desist order.

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.

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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 added.

Also read: Duterte’ completely neutral’ on ABS-CBN shutdown- Roque

ABS-CBN closure different from its 1972 martial law shutdown

The former Presidential Spokesperson said the ABS-CBN shutdown was not a “repetition of history.”

“When martial law was declared, the President then had the power to close all communications,” he said.

“This particular chapter of our history, the President does not have that power. Congress has that power. There’s a wheel of a difference between then and now.”

“The President approves law that is in accordance with the Constitution,” Panelo answered when asked if Duterte would sign law giving ABS-CBN franchise renewal.

“He vetoes provisions with respect to anything contrary to the Constitution. I don’t think there’s any problem with the President if the franchise is correctly done,” he said.

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