DU30 to ABSCBN: Next year, you're out! Sorry, don't expect franchise renewal!

Duterte to ABS-CBN: Next year, you're out - cnnphilippines.com

Duterte to ABS-CBN: Sorry, don't expect franchise renewal - rappler.com

Bong Go: ‘PRRD feelings was deeply hurt by ABSCBN - cebudailynews.com

FALSE: Duterte 'completely neutral' on ABS-CBN franchise renewal - rappler.com

Philippine Telecoms Body Orders TV Broadcaster That Irked Duterte to Shut - nytimes.com

Calida and Duterte: a four-decade friendship as lawyers, gun enthusiasts, friends of Bongbong Marcos  www.mindanews.com

Calida pressed NTC to issue cease and desist order vs ABS-CBN, document shows - news.abs-cbn.com

ABS-CBN clarifies they have ‘no unpaid taxes’ amid fight to renew franchise - cnnphilippines.com

ABS-CBN clarifies they have ‘no unpaid taxes’ amid fight to renew franchise - cnnphilippines.com

Duterte to ABS-CBN: Next year, you're out

President Rodrigo Duterte said he is not softening his stance against the franchise renewal of major television network ABS-CBN.

Duterte said Tuesday, ABS-CBN will definitely be "out" next year. Its contract is set to end by March 2020 unless Congress and the President approve its extension.

"Ang inyong franchise mag-end next year [Your franchise will end next year]. If you are expecting na ma-renew 'yan [a renewal], I'm sorry. You're out. I will see to it that you're out," said Duterte during the oath-taking of newly appointed government officials in Malacañang.

Five bills have been filed to extend the franchise for another 25 years.

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said in October a panel from the lower chamber is set to tackle the renewal by yearend.

Duterte has repeatedly slammed the network in previous tirades. Last year, he stood firm against the renewal of the franchise, citing its failure to air his presidential campaign ads in 2016, even though the network was paid to do so. He repeated this claim.

"Ang ABS-CBN, 'yung bunganga ng inyong interes, they protect you...Kayo ngayon, mag-renew kayo ng contract? Ilan kayong mga senador ngayon na nagbayad sa inyo na hindi ninyo pinalabas yung kanila?," Duterte added.

[Translation: ABS-CBN, your interest protects you...Now you want to renew your contract? How many senators have paid you yet you failed to air theirs (ads)?]

He reiterated his allegation saying ABS-CBN showed preference in broadcasting the political ads of former Senator Antonio Trillanes over others.

"Unang nilabas ninyo 'yung kay Trillanes 'yung using the children of a propaganda.... Tinanggap ninyo ang ₱2 million ko, ni wala...Hindi lang ako 'yung na-ganoon, Chiz Escudero, marami. Lahat sa Congress," he said. "And you want us to bow down to your wealth and money and influence? Well, not with this administration. I am for the people and I will kill for the people."

[Translation: You aired Trillanes first who was using children for propaganda...You accepted my P2 million but none of my ads were aired...It was not just me but Chiz Escudero and many others. Everyone in Congress.]

Source: https://www.cnnphilippines.com/news/2019/12/3/duterte-abs-cbn-franchise-out.html

Duterte to ABS-CBN: Sorry, don't expect franchise renewal

The Philippines’ biggest television network will lose its franchise next year, vowed President Rodrigo Duterte in a fresh rant against “oligarchs” on Tuesday, December 3.

"Ang iyong franchise mag-end next year. If you expect ma-renew 'yan, I'm sorry. I will see to it that you’re out," said Duterte during a speech in front of new government officials at Malacañang.

(Your franchise will end next year. If you expect it to be renewed, I'm sorry. I will see to it that you're out.)

This is his 3rd time to make the threat.

ABS-CBN's current franchise, approved through Republic Act No. 7966 on March 30, 1995, is set to expire on March 30, 2020.

If the bill renewing the franchise does not get signed into law, ABS-CBN would have to close down its radio and television operations.

Duterte repeated his threat to ABS-CBN as part of a larger diatribe against powerful corporations he accused of "screwing over" the government, like Ayala Corporation and Manny Pangilinan's Metro Pacific Investments Corporation.

In April 2017, Duterte accused the network of "swindling" him for not airing his paid political advertisements during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Duterte first publicly threatened ABS-CBN days after he signed into law the franchise renewal of its rival, GMA Network. Duterte then repeated his threat to block the renewal of ABS-CBN's franchise in August 2018. (READ: Duterte: If it were up to me, no ABS-CBN franchise renewal)

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, Duterte's running mate in 2016, said he too has a "personal complaint" against the network.

But he promised the House of Representatives would give ABS-CBN's franchise renewal "due process." The House committee on legislative franchises was to tackle the franchise renewal bill before the end of 2019. Rappler.com

Source: https://www.rappler.com/nation/246358-duterte-tells-abs-cbn-sorry-do-not-expect-franchise-renewal

Bong Go: ‘PRRD was deeply hurt’, urges co-lawmaker not to politicize ABS-CBN franchise renewal issue

Although he did not stay and listen to the Senate hearing on the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN yesterday, February 24, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said it is more important for the people to know that the network “deeply hurt” President Rodrigo Duterte because of a negative political add against him during the May 2016 elections.

“Kirot at sugat po ang naramdaman ng ating mahal na pangulo. Kung kailan po yan maghihilom, ang ating mahal na pangulo lamang po ang maaring makakasagot,” Go said in an inteview with Cebu press on Tuesday.

Go led the official launching of the Malasakit Center in Eversley Childs Sanitarium and General Hospital at noon on February 25.

Go, who was the president’s aid for over 20 years before becoming a senator, said the former senator and vice-presidential candidate Antonio Trillanes IV played bad politics when he produced and paid for the negative advertisement against Duterte, who was then a presidential candidate.

The negative ad was aired at the Kapamilya network.

“Bakit sya gumawa ng ads para siraan si then candidate Mayor Duterte. Yun po ay maruming paraan ng pamumulitika ang ginawa ni Trillanes,” Go said.

Go said that he feels for the workers of ABS -CBN who may lose their job if the network’s franchise will not be renewed as he says that his priority is the interest of the Filipino workers.

Go urged other legislators not to politicise the discussion of the media outlet’s franchise renewal.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon filed a resolution earlier seeking the extension of the broadcast network’s franchise until December 2022.

ABS-CBN’s franchise is set to expire on March 30, 2020.

Go said the issue on the ABS-CBN franchise should be dealt with now and not on a period when President Duterte’s term would have ended or beyond June 30, 2022.

At the end of the day, Go said, it is would be the president who has the final say whether or not the legislative franchise will be approved. /rcg.

Source: https://cebudailynews.inquirer.net/290400/bong-go-prrd-was-deeply-hurt-urges-co-lawmaker-not-to-politicize-abs-cbn-franchise-renewal-issue

FALSE: Duterte 'completely neutral' on ABS-CBN franchise renewal

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this claim in a PTV4 interview on Wednesday, May 6.

"The President will be neither angry nor happy. He is completely neutral. Vote as your conscience dictates," Roque said, referring to the House of Representatives' vote on the network's franchise renewal.

Rating: FALSE

The facts: Duterte has made several threats to block ABS-CBN's franchise renewal during his term. (READ: TIMELINE: Duterte against ABS-CBN's franchise renewal)

As early as March 2017, Duterte lashed out against ABS-CBN for allegedly writing unfair news about him, cursing the network and its owners and saying it publishes trash. "[Someday] – hindi ko tinatakot – but someday, 'yung karma, darating 'yan (Someday – I am not scaring them – but someday, karma will come)," he said.

In April 2017, Duterte accused the network of "swindling" him, claiming it failed to show his political advertisements during the 2016 campaign season. He then said he will file a complaint and would "block" ABS-CBN's franchise renewal. Duterte issued another threat in May 2017, saying he will file charges of "multiple syndicated estafa" against the network.

The following year, in August 2018, Duterte blasted the network again, saying that if it was up to him, he would not "give it [franchise] back."

His next threat came just months before the network's franchise was set to expire. In December 2019, he said, "Ang iyong franchise mag-end next year. If you expect ma-renew 'yan, I'm sorry. I will see to it that you're out." (Your franchise will end next year. If you expect it to be renewed, I'm sorry. I will see to it that you're out.)

In the same month, he told ABS-CBN that it would be better to "just sell" the network and said it was about time that Filipinos "get back" at the company.

Even Senator Bong Go made remarks against ABS-CBN on behalf of the President during the February 24 Senate hearing on the network's franchise. Go said that Duterte was upset with how the network aired an ad showing Duterte cursing and making a rape comment instead of airing the ads paid for by the Duterte campaign. "Kung masama ka kay Pangulo, mas maging masama siya sa ’yo," he said. (If you are mean to the President, he will be even more mean to you.)

On February 26, Duterte said he was accepting ABS-CBN's apology, leaving its fate to Congress.

Congress failed to renew ABS-CBN's franchise, which lapsed on Monday, May 4. The following day, the National Telecommunications Commission issued a cease and desist order against the broadcast giant. It signed off hours later, after it aired its primetime newscast TV Patrol.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said on Wednesday that Duterte can override the NTC order, saying he has "total control of the executive department as Chief Executive." The NTC is under the executive branch. – Loreben Tuquero/Rappler.com

Source: https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/fact-check/260050-duterte-completely-neutral-abs-cbn-franchise-renewal

Philippine Telecoms Body Orders TV Broadcaster That Irked Duterte to Shut

The Philippines' telecoms body ordered the country's leading broadcaster ABS-CBN Corp to cease operations on Tuesday, as a parliament dominated by President Rodrigo Duterte's loyalists dragged its feet over renewing its license.

Duterte has repeatedly threatened to block the renewal of ABS-CBN's franchise, after the channel angered him during the 2016 presidential election by refusing to air his campaign commercials.

Opposition lawmakers described the order for the channel to suspend operations as "ill-timed" given the need to inform the public in the battle against the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

In a statement, ABS-CBN said it will stop operations Tuesday evening to comply with the order from the National Telecommunications Commission, while also imploring lawmakers in Congress, the lower house of parliament, to renew its franchise, which expired on May 4.

The channel also said it had been given assurances that it could carry on broadcasting while the bills to extend its franchise still lay with the Congress.

Yet, NTC Deputy Commissioner Edgardo Cabarios said that the order for the channel stop operations took immediate effect, but added that ABS-CBN could appeal through the courts. The regulator also gave ABS-CBN 10 days to respond and explain why frequencies assigned to it should not be recalled.

ABS-CBN, a 66-year-old entertainment and media conglomerate, employs nearly 7,000 people, operates radio and television stations nationwide and distributes online content.

Antonio Albano, vice-chairman of the lower chamber's committee on legislative franchises, said Congress will order the telecoms body to explain its action.

"We are up in arms against this," Albano told DZMM, adding that only Congress can grant or revoke franchise.

An opposition senator said the closure of the channel undermined the fight against the coronavirus outbreak, which has infected more than 9,600 people in the Philippines, and killed more than 600.

"This shutdown order goes against public welfare," Senator Risa Hontiveros said in a statement. (Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales and Karen Lema; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2020/05/05/world/asia/05reuters-philippines-media.html?referringSource=articleShare&fbclid=IwAR2xe36amOJ3SaHD0A5RuIUXmvo5aOpWdrJl_ko1bevEqoy59x2HPx7CFpo

Calida and Duterte: a four-decade friendship as lawyers, gun enthusiasts, friends of Bongbong Marcos

Duterte is now the 16th President of the Philippines and the first Mindanawon to lead the nation,  Bello is Labor Secretary and Calida, the Solicitor-General who early this year filed a quo warranto petition before the Supreme Court for the cancellation of the franchise of ABS-CBN, a franchise that was to expire on May 4, 2020. Fourteen bills filed to have the network’s franchise renewed remain pending at the Committee on Legislative Franchises.

On May 3, World Press Freedom Day, and eve of the expiration of ABS-CBN’s franchise, Calida warned the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) against granting a provisional authority to the country’s largest broadcast network to allow it to operate while its franchise renewal is pending in Congress.

The NTC on May 5 issued a cease and desist order against ABS-CBN, directing it to stop operating its television and radio broadcasting stations nationwide “absent a valid congressional franchise required by law.”

Two months earlier, on March 10, NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba said they would follow the advice of the Department of Justice to allow ABS-CBN to operate while its franchise renewal is pending in Congress.

“The NTC will follow the latest advice of the DOJ (Department of Justice) and let ABS-CBN continue operations based on equity,” Cordoba said at the hearing of the  House Committee on Legislative Franchises.

Thrice mentioned

In Earl Parreño’s 227-page book, “Beyond Will and Power,” a biography of President Duterte, Calida is featured thrice – how he met Duterte and how they became friends; the last-minute filing of a certificate of candidacy (COC) for President by a PDP-Laban official on October 16, 2015 when Duterte did not show up at the Commission on Elections in Manila; and how Calida pushed for a Duterte-Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos team-up.

“Known for his audacious promotion of unorthodox legal theories and tactics,” Parreño wrote on the 1970s case that brought Calida and Duterte together, Calida requested then Fiscal (now referred to as Prosecutor) Duterte “to allow him to have a reenactment of the shoot-out” which implicated his client, Pallarca.

Parreño quoted Calida as telling Duterte, “It’s not in the rules of court but you will have a better perception of the case if you will allow us to have a reenactment.” Duterte agreed. The complaint against Pallarca was dismissed. The friendship between Calida and Duterte was “cemented,” Parreño wrote,  by their mutual love for guns.

Calida, according to the book,  is a competitive shooter and he and Duterte often went to the shooting range with Bello, Caesar “Billy” Dulay who was then chief legal counsel of Alcantara & Sons, and the late Jess Pinlac.

Dulay, a dorm mate along with Bello, is now Commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

October 2015

The book recounts what happened on Friday, October16, 2015, the last day for filing of certificates of candidacy. Calida and other supporters were already in the Manila Hotel a day earlier to prepare for Duterte’s filing of his COC for President but shortly after noon of Friday, the book said, the team was shocked when Duterte filed his COC for mayor in Davao City.

Duterte actually filed his COC for mayor of Davao City not on Friday as the book said, but at 2:40 p.m. on Thursday, October 15, through City Administrator Jesus Melchor Quitain and Chief Executive Assistant and personal aide Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, but supporters hoped he would change his mind and appear at the Comelec in Manila on or before 5 p.m. of Friday, October 16, to file his COC for President.

“We all felt dismayed,” the book quotes Calida as saying upon learning Duterte filed his COC for mayor. “Then at about two o’clock, I asked Dante Jimenez to look for a stand-in.”  The idea was for someone to file a COC for President so that if they could convince Duterte to run for President, he can run as the substitute candidate.  Jimenez got PDP-Laban’s Martin Dino to file his COC for President. Substitution of candidates was allowed until December 10.

On November 27, Duterte withdrew his COC for mayor and, through lawyer Salvador Medialdea (now Executive Secretary), filed his COC for President, substituting for Dino.

Calida, according to the book, thought of having a stand-in to file a COC for President.

Go has another version. He recalled in a telephone interview with MindaNews in March 2018 (he was then being egged by Cabinet members to run for the Senate), that he had anticipated Duterte would be a no-show at the Comelec in Manila on October 16, 2015. He said his nocturnal boss was still asleep mid-morning when he phoned Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, PDP-Laban party president, suggesting that somebody from the party should file a COC for President.

“It was my idea para hindi magalit ang mga tao” (so his supporters won’t get mad), said Go, who is now Senator but is still often seen beside or behind President Duterte in the latter’s public and private events.  Supporters, he said, were given a “slim hope” that Duterte would change his mind and run for President.


The book narrates that “a week or so before All Souls’ Day” in 2015,  Calida met with Duterte at the Grand Men Seng hotel in Davao City to talk about his running mate, should he run. “He and some Ilocanos in the campaign like (Hermogenes) Esperon (now National Security Adviser)  were pushing for Bongbong Marcos to be Digong’s Vice President,” a move the book said, was opposed by the Dominguez brothers (Carlos, now Finance Secretary, and Paul, now a member of the Board of Directors of the Asian Development Bank) and the Pimentels (Aquilino Jr. and Aquilino III) who fought the Marcos dictatorship and did not want their candidate associated with Marcos.

According to the book, Calida “untiringly asked Digong (Duterte’s nickname) to first meet Bongbong before the mayor would finally make his choice. In that meeting, the mayor agreed. So Calida called up Jonathan dela Cruz,  Bongbong’s campaign maanger, to inquire about his principal’s schedule so he can meet up with the mayor. Then he called up Bong Go only to be told that the mayor’s schedule was already full in the next several weeks.”

On November 21, 2015, Duterte announced in the birthday celebration of Atty. Alfredo Lim in Cavite City that he was running for President. The next day, according to the book, Duterte signed the COC for President and other documents for filing before the Comelec, and flew to HongKong on the 23rd.

The book narrated that when Calida heard Duterte’s announcement that he would run for the top post,  he “again tried to schedule a meeting between Digong and Bongbong.”

Duterte arrived from HongKong on November 25, 2015 and proceeded to Davao City on November 26. “Wanting very much for his two friends to meet up and talk, Calida made a way for Bongbong to be booked on the same flight with Digong,” the book said.

Duterte and Calida met at the airport and sat beside each other inside the plane. “But the original agenda of the meeting, the possibility of them running in tandem, was no longer on the table.”

The reason, according to the book is that Duterte and Senator Alan Peter Cayetano “had already firmed up their alliance in HongKong.”

But Duterte, according to the book, consented to have his Ilocano supporters form a group that would carry Marcos as his Vice President, hence the Alyansang Duterte-Bongbong or “Aldub.”

Duterte did not immediately offer Vice President Leni Robredo a Cabinet post when he assumed the Presidency because, he told a press conference in Davao City on May 31, 2016, “I don’t want to hurt the feelings of Bongbong Marcos. He is my friend. That is the political reality.”

As Solicitor General, among the first things Calida did was to push for the burial of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Sr., Bongbong’s father, at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Marcos’s remains were eventually buried, albeit in a clandestine manner, in November 2016.

Duterte himself  said it was Calida who pushed for the burial of Marcos. “In one of those meetings here regarding the issue of the burial of President Marcos,” Duterte told Malacanang reporters on May 16, 2018, Calida was “yung pinaka-ano (really pushing for it) and Calida is passionately, pro-Marcos ‘yan. Ilocano eh.” In the earlier part of the interview, he said, “I think he is related to the Marcoses.”

Calida in September 2016 stressed that the President’s order to bury the remains of Marcos at the Heroes’ Cemetery is “for national healing” and was based on the Constitution and on his residual powers as chief executive and commander-in-chief.

Cum laude, Dean’s lister, 100% in Criminal Law

The book said Calida is the only child of public school teachers from Ilocos Norte who migrated to Mawab in Davao del Norte (Mawab later became part of Compostela Valley province, now renamed Davao de Oro province), where he spent his first four years in elementary. From there the Calida family moved to Davao City where he finished elementary in a public school, and earned a scholarship from high school to college at the Ateneo de Davao University.

According to the website of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), Calida, the 48th Solicitor-General of the Philippines, graduated cum laude with a Major in English and Minor in Philosophy at the Ateneo de Davao University in 1969. He finished his Bachelor of Laws degree at the Ateneo de Manila University in 1973 where he was a consistent Dean’s lister.

The SolGen website said Calida passed the bar in the same year “with ratings of 100% in Criminal Law, 90% in Civil Law, and 90% in Taxation Law.”

Before joining government, Calida went into private practice first and even taught Law at the Ateneo de Davao University.

He served as Chief Legal Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Alcantara & Sons Group of Companies in Davao City, Assistant Vice President for Legal and Head, Litigation Group of Security Bank.

At the J. Calida & Associates Law Firm, he specialized in Litigation, the Anti-Money Laundering Law, and the Dangerous Drugs Law, the OSG website said.

He was Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Prudential Guarantee and Assurance, Inc. (Coyiuto Group of Companies), Chairman and President of Vigilant Investigative and Security Agency, Inc., and General Counsel of Philippine Association of Detective and Protective Agency Operators, Inc.

When he joined government, Calida served as Undersecretary of the Department of Justice from 2001 to 2004. There, he was in charge of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Witness Protection Security and Benefits Program, Office of the Government Corporate Counsel, DOJ National task Force on Terrorism and Internal Security, and DOJ Task Force on Financial Fraud and Money Laundering.

He also served as Executive Director of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) in 2004. where he conceptualized and implemented the ‘Barkada Kontra Droga,” the DDB’s flagship project in drug prevention and control. He also implemented the ‘Lakbay Arkal Kontra Droga” and “Lakbay Kontra Droga,” which were both aimed at heightening public awareness in the governemtn’s anti-drug policies and programs.

The OSG website also said Calida is “a gun enthusiast and an accomplished sharpshooter, with numerous shooting titles under his belt.”

He is married to Milagros with whom he has three children, Michelle, and lawyers Josef and Jorel. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)

Source: https://www.mindanews.com/top-stories/2020/05/calida-and-duterte-a-four-decade-friendship-as-lawyers-gun-enthusiasts-friends-of-bongbong-marcos/?fbclid=IwAR3tinIZ3Qed_OhtuKLUDbWVm_tmrSSYBYhjdMggqNphoZj_-YH_GAwsYwk

Calida pressed NTC to issue cease and desist order vs ABS-CBN, document shows

It was Solicitor General Jose Calida who pressured the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to issue a cease and desist order against ABS-CBN Corp. and ABS-CBN Convergence, Inc. instead of granting provisional authority, eventually leading to the network's sign-off Tuesday night. 

In a letter dated April 30, 2020, a copy of which was obtained by ABS-CBN News, Calida said the commission should stop ABS-CBN's broadcast operations instead of issuing provisional authority, as its officials had vowed under oath in a legislative hearing. 

The letter came to light Wednesday, the same day Calida said Congress, not the NTC, should be blamed for ABS-CBN's shutdown. Over two months earlier, he asked the Supreme Court to nullify ABS-CBN's then expiring franchise. 

“With an expired franchise and a failure to renew the franchise, the NTC should, instead of entertaining the thought of issuing a PA, with or without hearing, issue a show cause or recall order requiring ABS-CBN Corporation to explain why the broadcasting frequency assigned to it should not be recalled or otherwise forfeited,” he said in a letter dated April 30, 2020, a copy of which was obtained by ABS-CBN News.

The 14-page letter was addressed to NTC Gamaliel Cordoba and Deputy Commissioners Delilah Deles and Edgardo Cabarios, and signed by Calida and six assistant solicitors general.

“At the same time, the NTC should issue a cease and desist order against ABS-CBN Corporation from continuing its broadcasting operations,” he added.

And so the NTC did on May 5, forcing ABS-CBN to go off the air for the first time since the Marcos dictatorship. 

Calida's letter is on top of a statement he released on May 3, the eve of the ABS-CBN franchise expiration, where he warned the NTC against issuing provisional authority. 

ABS-CBN Corporation’s franchise ended on Monday, May 4, while ABS-CBN Convergence, Inc.’s franchise lapsed on March 17 this year.

Calida cited the Public Service Act and the NTC’s internal rules which allows the commission, on its own or upon motion, to issue a cease and desist order in the interest of public service, welfare and security.

But the rules cited by Calida require as a minimum that the respondents should have already been informed of a proceeding to be able to explain why no action should be taken against them.

In ABS-CBN’s case, it is not immediately clear if ABS-CBN was previously informed but the cease and desist order also included a 10-day period to explain why the frequencies assigned to it should not be recalled.


In the same letter, Calida not only discredited the positions taken by the Department of Justice, the Senate and the House Franchise Committee on the NTC’s issuance of a provisional authority to ABS-CBN, the government's lead legal defender also threatened NTC commissioners with graft cases if they proceed.

Calida himself is facing graft charges for, among others, allegedly owning security agencies with contracts with government offices. 

Insisting that the Constitution requires a franchise first be granted by Congress before a provisional authority may be given to a public utility, he rejected the position taken by the Senate, which passed a resolution, and the House franchise committee, which sent a letter to the NTC directing it to issue provisional authority to ABS-CBN pending the renewal of its franchise.

“The House of Representatives - Committee on Legislative Franchises Letter dated February 26, 2020 and Senate Resolution No. 34413 both urging the NTC to issue a PA [provisional authority] to ABS-CBN Corporation and its subsidiaries or affiliates are erroneous and not binding,” he said.

“[T]he Letter dated February 26, 2020 and Senate Resolution No. 344 merely express the sentiment of the committee and the Senate. Hence, these issuances cannot amend the current law requiring a congressional franchise for the operation of broadcasting networks,” he added.

Calida explained that a provisional authority can only be given once a Congressional franchise is issued and only while waiting for the NTC’s issuance of a certificate of public convenience (CPC), citing constitutional provisions and a law.

ABS-CBN's franchise renewal applications have languished in the House of Representatives for years. President Rodrigo Duterte, who appointed Calida to his current post after serving as one of his campaign managers in the 2016 elections, had earlier threatened to shut the network down. 

Calida dismissed the view taken by Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra that “equity” can fill the gap in the law. The justice chief had said no law governs public utilities seeking renewal of their franchise but who are unable to secure one without their fault.

Guevarra had also earlier cited that other broadcast firms were allowed to operate after their franchises had lapsed. 

But Calida insisted that the law is clear: “[W]hen there is no renewal, the franchise expires by operation of law. The franchise ceases to exist and the entity can no longer continue its operations as a public utility.”

“The said advice or guidance and the circumstances surrounding its issuance are not at all unprecedented,” invoking a 2003 case where the Supreme Court rejected the opinion of the DOJ dispensing with the requirement of a franchise.

He warned the commissioners that there are penal sanctions should they issue a provisional authority in favor of ABS-CBN.

“Congress, via a law and not mere resolution, has the exclusive constitutional and sovereign power to grant a franchise which expressly limits the period for any franchisee to operate. Thus, NTC’s grant of a provisional authority to ABS-CBN Corporation and/or ABS-CBN Convergence without a legislative franchise is tantamount to knowingly granting a permit to a private entity without it being qualified or legally entitled,” he said.

Calida also raised the citizenship issue against ABS-CBN Corp’s chairman emeritus Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III, claiming that Lopez when ABS-CBN’s franchise was first granted in 1995, Lopez was still supposedly an American citizen.

But ABS-CBN President and CEO Carlo Katigbak already addressed this issue, explaining that Lopez is a Filipino citizen and that he holds a Philippine passport.


The letter showed Calida volunteered his office’s advice, citing the petition filed by lawyer Lorenzo Gadon before the Supreme Court questioning Cordoba’s March 10 statement that the NTC will issue a provisional authority to ABS-CBN and its affiliates or subsidiaries.

“[T]he OSG, as the statutory counsel of the NTC, deems it necessary to advise the Commission of the applicable laws, rules and jurisprudence as regards the status, effects and possible course of action brought about by the absence or non-renewal of the foregoing franchises,” the letter said.

Calida said Cordoba’s earlier statement does not bind the entire commission which is composed of 3 members. The two other commissioners are Deputy Commissioners Delilah Deles and Edgardo Cabarios.

The letter was signed by Calida and 6 other assistant solicitor generals.

Source: https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/05/06/20/calida-pressed-ntc-to-issue-cease-and-desist-order-vs-abs-cbn-document-shows?fbclid=IwAR15waLG-dzXSU4yxMWGEWF-qcIAa1dZMkVf0GAnXFRk5l75F9yMfHfdd-U

ABS-CBN clarifies they have ‘no unpaid taxes’ amid fight to renew franchise Media giant ABS-CBN maintained Tuesday it "did not violate the law" and has no outstanding tax liability as it faces a petition before the Supreme Court to nullify its legislative franchise. ABS-CBN has no tax liability with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). In fact, the BIR issued a Tax Clearance Certificate to ABS-CBN in 2019,” the statement read. In 2019, the Court of Tax Appeals approved a settlement deal between ABS-CBN and BIR, which saw the broadcasting network shelling out ₱152.44 million, which is equivalent to 40 percent of its assessed deficiency in income tax, value-added tax, and documentary stamp tax payments. The CTA second division approved the compromise agreement to settle the media company’s tax case. The statement also cited that ABS-CBN has paid a total of ₱70.5 billion in taxes to the government in a span of 17 years. “We remain grateful to for the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to the nation, whether through the services we offer to the people or by paying our taxes to the government,” said the statement. https://cnnphilippines.com/business/2019/03/02/abs-cbn-bir-settlement-cta.html ABS-CBN: 'We did not violate the law' "ABS-CBN complies with all pertinent laws governing its franchise and has secured all necessary government and regulatory approvals for its business operations," https://www.cnnphilippines.com/news/2020/2/10/ABS-CBN-we-did-not-violate-law.html Duterte to ABS-CBN: Next year, you're out Duterte said Tuesday, ABS-CBN will definitely be "out" next year. Its contract is set to end by March 2020 unless Congress and the President approve its extension. "Ang inyong franchise mag-end next year [Your franchise will end next year]. If you are expecting na ma-renew 'yan [a renewal], I'm sorry. You're out. I will see to it that you're out," said Duterte during the oath-taking of newly appointed government officials in Malacañang. https://www.cnnphilippines.com/news/2019/12/3/duterte-abs-cbn-franchise-out.html https://www.cnnphilippines.com/news/2020/2/11/ABS-CBN-y.html

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