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ABS-CBN denies violating laws over broadcasting franchise

by Arniel C. Serato
Feb 10, 2020
ABS-CBN strongly denies allegations hurled by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) in its "very urgent omnibus motion" filed at the Supreme Court to revoke the network's broadcast franchise.
PHOTO/S: Courtesy: ABS-CBN News on Facebook

Mariing itinanggi ng ABS-CBN na may nalabag sila sa anumang probisyon ng kanilang prangkisa na naaprubahan ng Kongreso noong taong 1995.

Ito ang kanilang sagot sa “very urgent omnibus motion” ng Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), sa inihain nitong quo warranto petition sa Supreme Court (SC), ngayong Lunes ng umaga, February 10.

Kaugnay nito, kaagad naglabas ng pahayag ang ABS-CBN hinggil sa mga paratang ni Solicitor General Jose Calida.

Ayon sa giant network, ang hakbang na ito ng OSG ay isang paraan upang ipasara ang ABS-CBN "to the serious prejudice of million of Filipinos" na umaasa sa network para sa news, entertainment, at public service.

Naninindigan ang network na walang basehan ang mga alegasyon ni Calida laban sa kanila at wala silang nilabag na batas.

Narito ang buong pahayag ng ABS-CBN:

“The Office of the Solicitor General’s filing of a quo warranto case against ABS-CBN on alleged violations of its franchise appears to be an effort to shut down ABS-CBN to the serious prejudice of millions of Filipinos who rely on the network for news, entertainment and public service.

“These allegations cited by the Office of the Solicitor General in his press statement are without merit.

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"ABS-CBN complies with all pertinent laws governing its franchise and has secured all necessary government and regulatory approvals for its business operations.

“(1) All our broadcast offerings, including KBO, have received the necessary government and regulatory approvals and are not prohibited by our franchise.

“(2) ABS-CBN Holdings’ Philippine Deposit Receipts or PDRs were evaluated and approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Philippine Stock Exchange prior to its public offering. These are the same instruments used by other broadcast companies to raise capital for the improvement of services.

“(3) The ownership of ABS-CBN in ABS-CBN Convergence was undertaken under the same law and structures that have been utilized by other telecommunications companies. These are transfers that are approved under the Public Telecommunications Policy Act and are fully compliant with law.

“We reiterate that everything we do is in accordance with the law. We did not violate the law.

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"This case appears to be an attempt to deprive Filipinos of the services of ABS-CBN.

“KBO remains one of the cheapest forms of entertainment that we can provide to the public.

"The capital we have raised from the PDRs has enabled us to provide services to nearly 90 percent of the Philippines and to our OFW’s all over the world.

"Our work with ABS-CBN Convergence supports the government policy of finding ways to bring down the cost of internet access.

“The Senate, the House of Representatives, and the Executive Branch have assured the public that our franchise will be allowed to go through the proper renewal process in a fair manner. To that end, the filing of the quo warranto case is ill-timed given that Congress has already resumed its session.

“We remain committed to our mission to serve the Filipino people especially at this time when millions of Filipinos rely on our services in delivering information such as the 2019 NCoV ARD, the developments in the Middle East, and updates on Taal Volcano situation as they relate to our countrymen.”

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OSG COMPLAINT

Kaninang umaga ay naglabas ng official statement si Solicitor General Calida kaugnay ng paghahain ng kanyang tanggapan ng very urgent omnibus motion upang mapawalang-bisa ang prangkisa ng ABS-CBN.

Nakasaad dito: “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.”

Ayon kay Calida, nilabag ng ABS-CBN ang Saligang Batas ukol sa ownership ng media entity sa bansa dahil sa pagbebenta nito ng Philippine Deposit Receipts (PDRs) sa pamamagitan ng ABS-CBN Holdings Corporation.

Sa ilalim ng 1987 Constitution, ang pagmamay-ari ng mass media sa Pilipinas ay para sa mga Pilipino lamang.

Aniya pa, “This simply means that mass media companies operating in the Philippines must be 100 percent Filipino owned because they play an integral role in the nation's economic, political, and socio-political landscape.”

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Bukod dito, naabuso rin diumano ng ABS-CBN ang gobyerno nang maglunsad ito ng pay-per-view channel sa ABS-CBN TV Plus—ang KBO Channel—na walang pahintulot ng National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

Saad pa ni Calida sa kanyang pahayag, "While it is true that broadcasting is a business, the welfare of the people must not be sacrificed in the pursuit of profit.”

Labag din daw sa batas ang paglunsad ng istasyon ng ABS-CBN Convergence, Inc.

"The legislative franchises of ABS-CBN Corporation and its subsidiary, ABS-CBN Convergence, Inc. must be revoked.

"A franchise is a special privilege granted by the State, and should be restricted only to entities which faithfully adhere to our Constitution.”

Nauna nang naiulat sa mga pahayagan na dapat ay noon pang January 16 isasampa ng OSG sa Korte Suprema ang quo warranto petition, ngunit naunsiyami umano ito dahil napigilan ng ilang miyembro ng gabinete si Calida.

May lagpas isang buwan na lamang ang ABS-CBN upang makakuha ng legislative franchise sa Kongreso dahil mapapaso na ang kanilang prangkisa sa darating na March 30, 2020.

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May mahigit sampung panukalang batas na nakahain sa Kongreso na naglalayong mabigyan muli ng prangkisa ang istasyon, ngunit hanggang ngayon ay hindi pa ito nakakalendaryo sa House Committee on Legislative Franchises.

Sa committee hearings ngayong araw sa Kongreso, wala pa ring naka-schedule na hearing ang Committee on Legislative Franchises.

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ABS-CBN strongly denies allegations hurled by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) in its "very urgent omnibus motion" filed at the Supreme Court to revoke the network's broadcast franchise.
PHOTO/S: Courtesy: ABS-CBN News on Facebook
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