Panelo to House: Why not pass bill granting provisional authority to ABS-CBN?
Malacanang reiterated on Friday its position that the National Telecommunications Commission could not grant provisional authority to ABS-CBN to operate once its franchise expires by the end of this month.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, the chief presidential legal counsel, made the statement after lawyer Lorenzo Gadon questioned before the Supreme Court the move by the House of Representatives to issue provisional authority to the giant television network.
Panelo said even before Gadon filed a petition before the high court, he mentioned that provisional authority to be given by NTC could be unconstitutional.
"The NTC cannot give provisional authority if there's no franchise. If the franchise expires, then there's nothing to give provisional authority for extension. What are you going to extend? There's none. As I said in several press briefings ago, if they do that, that might be most likely subject to constitutional question before the Supreme Court," he explained.
The House leadership earlier signed a letter directing the NTC to grant provisional authority to ABS-CBN to operate effective March 4, 2020, until such time that Congress has made a decision on its franchise application.
Instead of a provisional authority granted by NTC, Panelo proposed that Congress passes a bill giving such provisional authority.
"My suggestion as an ordinary citizen, if they are so minded as to giving provisional authority to ABS-CBN, then why don't they file (a) bill giving such provisional authority while they will discuss the very merit of the case of giving renewal of 20 or 25 years?" he said.
He noted that there are several bills pending in the House on ABS-CBN renewal of franchise.
"Pass a bill, make it into law granting provisional authority," Panelo added. Celerina Monte/DMS