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DoJ: NTC may have good reason for network shutdown

Alvin Murcia

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The Department of Justice (DoJ) on Tuesday stressed that the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) “must have a very good reason” for issuing a cease and desist order (CDO) enjoining ABS-CBN and its affiliate, ABS-CBN Convergence Inc., following the expiration of their franchises.

In a statement, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said that it would be better for the concerned parties to wait for the NTC to explain the basis for its issuance of a CDO — which was in contrast to the assurance made by NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba during the hearing of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises last 10 March 2020 that the agency will issue a provisional authority (PA) to ABS-CBN allowing it to operate pending its application.

Guevarra acknowledged that as a regulatory body, “the NTC has jurisdiction to determine whether it will issue a PA or not” and while he agreed that the CDO is immediately executory in nature, ABS-CBN may still seek judicial review of the NTC order.

“Yes, a CDO is immediately executory but still appealable to the courts, either the regional trial court or the Court of Appeals (CA). However, a judicial review is more appropriate than an appeal,” said Guevarra.

On the legal implications if ABS-CBN would ignore the NTC order, Guevarra said “the NTC will have to enforce it if ABS-CBN will not voluntarily comply.”

The NTC has been asked by House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Palawan Rep. Franz Alvarez, chair of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises to issue PA authority to ABS-CBN, effective on 4 May until such time as Congress has made a decision on its franchise application.

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