Call again! SC defers action on quo warranto suit vs ABS-CBN

Supreme Court Public Information Office chief Brian Keith Hosaka on Wednesday bared that the high court deferred action on the quo warranto petition the Office of the Solicitor General filed against television giant ABS-CBN.

“The case will be taken up again by the en banc on March 10, 2020. This is to give the Justices time to go over the pleadings submitted by the parties, including the comments recently filed by the respondents,” Hosaka said in a Viber message.

Likewise deferred was the gag order sought by the OSG to prohibit parties from publicly discussing the cases involving the network’s franchise renewal.

Last February 10, a “Very Urgent Omnibus Motion” which was personally filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida, urged the high court to forfeit the franchises of ABS-CBN and ABS-CBN Convergence, Inc., saying “they are unlawfully exercising their legislative franchises.”

Also, the OSG stressed the petition was meant to stop the alleged “abusive practices” of ABS CBN.

“We want to put an end to what we discovered to be highly abusive practices of ABS-CBN benefitting a greedy few at the expense of millions of its loyal subscribers. These practices have gone unnoticed or were disregarded for years,” Calida said in a statement.

The ABS-CBN franchise is set to expire this March, and bills are pending before the Senate and House of Representatives to have this extended.

On numerous occasions, President Duterte threatened to block the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise, accusing the network of biased reporting and riling against its failure to air his political advertisement during the 2016 campaign.

Under the 1987 Constitution, the granting of a franchise to television and radio companies is a power lodged in Congress

International group Human Rights Watch decried President Duterte’s moves blocking the franchise renewal, taking it as a curtailment of press freedom. The group added that lawmakers should remain “independent” from the President’s whims.

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