(FEBRUARY 10, 2020) – President Rodrigo Duterte’s office denied any hand in the quo warranto petition filed before the Supreme Court by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to shut down the country’s largest broadcast network, the official spokesman said on Monday.
Salvador Panelo also disputed claims by press groups that the case was an attack on press freedom, saying the Executive does not grant and renew franchises.
Panelo, who is also the chief presidential legal counsel, said it is the duty of the OSG to take action against any entity which abuses and violates laws.
“Definitely nothing to do [with the petition],” the spokesman said of the President’s involvement.
“Wala ngang koneksiyon ang press freedom e. Kasi unang-una, Congress ang mag-grant o magre-renew. ‘Yun namang isa, nag-file ng petition kasi trabaho niya naman ‘yun.”
On Monday, Solicitor General Jose Calida filed a petition of quo warranto to nullify the franchise of the Lopez familly-controlled network, ABS-CBN, citing violations of the Constitution by broadcasting for a fee and allowing foreign investors to take part in its ownership.
ABS-CBN has since denied violating the law, saying it had secured necessary papers and approvals before operations.
“ABS-CBN complies with all pertinent laws governing its franchise and has secured all necessary government and regulatory approvals for its business operations. We did not violate the law,” the network said in a statement.
The lower house has yet to act on pending application to renew the network’s franchise.
However, Duterte will have the final decision even if Congress approves the franchise bill because of his veto power.
Duterte has been threatening to shut down the network for failing to air his political advertisements during election campaign in 2016. (Randell Ritumalta/MM)
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