ABS-CBN can still apply for a new franchise: Panelo

As seen on the March 2020 issue of Philippine Tribune

MANILA, Philippines — Television network ABS-CBN can still apply for a new franchise if the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) succeeds in its bid to revoke its franchise, Malacañang Spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

Panelo said the subject of the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida was the network’s present franchise, which is set to expire end of this month of March.

“You know, actually the filing of the petition is “a much ado about nothing” with respect to the opposition because if the quo warranto succeeds, then all the ABS-CBN can do is to apply for a new franchise. There’s nothing that would prevent them from applying again for a new franchise,” Panelo told ABS-CBN News Channel.

“What I’m saying is, the reason why the Solicitor General filed this case is because that is his constitutional duty…a legal duty imposed on him by law. If he does not, then he opens himself to criminal prosecution ━ of dereliction of duty. He cannot close his eyes to any violation regardless of the time,” he added.

Previously, the OSG asked the Supreme Court to forfeit the legislative franchises of ABS-CBN Corp. and its subsidiary ABS-CBN Convergence Inc. citing what it described as “highly abusive practices” of the network.

The OSG claimed that ABS-CBN has been broadcasting for a fee, something it said is beyond the scope of its franchise.

It also accused ABS-CBN of violating the constitution by allowing foreign investors to take part in the ownership of a Philippine media entity.

According to the OSG said, the network had issued Philippine Deposit Receipts (PDRs) through ABS-CBN Holdings Corp. to foreigners in violation of the foreign ownership restriction on mass media in the Constitution. The network denied all allegations by Calida. Ω

Updated: 2020-04-07 — 15:14:21