Congress ‘Not Compel’ NTC To Grant ABS-CBN Permit, Says DOJ

Congress may not compel the NTC to grant a temporary permit to operate to ABS-CBN Corp., according to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

Congress may not compel the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to grant ABS-CBN’s temporary permit to operate, according to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

This, as Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Friday said that the letter from the House of Representatives and the resolution of the Senate expressed their common sentiment that the NTC may issue a provisional authority to ABS-CBN pending Congress action on ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal “cannot be construed as direct orders of the legislature that the NTC is legally compelled to obey.”

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra | Photo from Philippine Star

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra was reacting to lawyer Larry Gadon’s petition filed in the Supreme Court on Thursday, March 5, questioning the House letter to NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba that Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and legislative franchises committee chair Rep. Franz Alvarez signed on Feb. 26

According to lawyer Larry Gadon, NTC had no authority to issue a certificate of public convenience, essentially a permit to operate, to ABS-CBN once its franchise expires on May 4, 2020, adding that a February 2003 Supreme Court decision ruled that such authority given to NTC were only in addition to the required congressional franchise.

Also, Larry Gadon disagreed with Guevarra that the NTC can issue such provisionary authority, saying that a franchise was “a law”, thus, “you cannot replace it with just a resolution.”

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