Press Release
May 5, 2020

Transcript of ANC's interview with Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon

Q: On the cease and desist order vs ABS-CBN

Drilon: What is clear is that NTC gravely abused its discretion in issuing the cease and desist order. During the Senate hearing, the secretary of justice that ABS-CBN can continue, a provisional authority can be issued on the basis of the precedence in the Supreme Court where it was ruled that so long as the application is pending in Congress, the provisional authority can be issued. That is the rule followed in Congress. It is quite unfortunate. I do not understand why this happened at this time when the public needs information on the pandemic and at this time when hundreds of thousands, if not million of workers, are laid off temporarily or permanently due to COVID-19 pandemic. The livelihood of 11,000 workers in ABS-CBN is prejudiced. There is absolutely no basis for this order. The ABS-CBN poses no harm. There is enough authority for the NTC to issue a provisional authority.

In fact, talking about that, there is this Memorandum Order No. 032020, this is a memorandum issued by the NTC on March 18, 2020 and it says that all existing permits, certificates, licenses, including radio operation certificates to operate radio communication equipment, networks and facilities, government or private, in various radio services...issued by the NTC expiring within March 15, 2020 to April 14, 2020 or during the ECQ period shall continue to be valid after 60 days, after the end of the ECQ. On its surface, it would appear that the licenses issued by the NTC are automatically extended by 60 days if this circular will apply and yet, ABS-CBN was singlehandedly prohibited from continuing to operate.

My suggestion is ABC-CBN should immediately challenge this abuse of discretion on the part of the NTC. They have the authority but it can be questioned because it is not in accordance with the jurisprudence and it is a grave abuse of discretion, to say the least.

The remedy is to challenge this order before the SC and hopefully, the SC issues a TRO because no one is prejudiced by the temporary suspension of the cease and desist order. On the other hand, if it stays, it can cause prejudice to 11,000 workers and the general public is deprived of an avenue that is so critical at this time because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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