House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano slammed the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) for “succumbing to the pressure” of the “unconstitutional meddling” by Solicitor General Jose Calida over the ABS-CBN franchise renewal issue.
“There will be a reckoning,” Cayetano said after the country’s largest media network shut down its broadcast operations following a cease and desist order from the NTC which cited the lapse of the network’s franchise on May 4.
Cayetano posted on Facebook – “Despite their assurance given under oath. Despite the legal opinion of the Department of Justice. Despite a resolution from the Senate, and several verbal and written assurances given to Congress – the NTC appears to have succumbed to pressure from the Solicitor General, and issued a cease and desist order to ABS-CBN.”
He added, “As for the sudden flip-flopping of the NTC and the unconstitutional meddling by the Solicitor General in the business of Congress, I promise you – there will be a reckoning.”
House leaders were confident NTC will grant ABS-CBN a provisional authority to operate while approval of the network’s franchise remain pending before the House Committee on Legislative Franchises.
Last February, Cayetano and Rep. Franz Alvarez, chairman – legislative franchises committee, wrote the NTC, requesting it to grant a provisional authority to operate to ABS-CBN effective on May 4, 2020, “until such time that the House of Representatives/Congress has made a decision on its application.”
In a March hearing, NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba promised to follow the advice of the DOJ allowing ABS-CBN to operate while its franchise renewal is pending in Congress.
Last May 5, a day after ABS-CBN’s franchise lapsed, the NTC issued a cease and desist order for the network to stop operations.
“We were all ambushed by the NTC,” Cayetano said. “So this Congress has no choice but to once again rise to the occasion and fix the mess others make. To our critics, in and outside of the House, you are free to say what you will. As we are free to respond in our own way,” he added.