Solicitor General Jose Calida filed a petition with the Supreme Court with the aim to revoke ABS-CBN’s existing franchise immediately due to “highly abusive practices” of the network.
Calida also pointed out that ABS-CBN released TV Plus subscription service and KBO Channel without legal approval from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC). Calida also insisted that ABS-CBN accepted foreign investors to take part in the ownership of a Philippine mass media entity.
Calida claimed, “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 Constitutions and laws.”
ABS-CBN reacts to Calida’s Quo Warranto
In light of the issue, ABS-CBN released an official statement to demonstrate that no laws have been violated by their network. Those Philippine Deposit Receipts (PDR) were indeed evaluated and approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission and Philippine Stock Exchange in which by the way the same instruments that other rival networks have been using to raise capital in improving its services.
Furthermore, in the same official statement, they emphasized that the ownership of ABS-CBN in ABS-CBN Convergence is fully compliant with the law and approved by the Public Telecommunications Policy Act.
“These allegations cited by the Office of the Solicitor General in his press statement are without merit. 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. This case appears to be an attempt to deprive Filipinos of the services of ABS-CBN. “
In regards to Calida’s accusations towards the network as highly abusive when they launched the TV Plus subscription service and KBO Channel, ABS-CBN clearly expressed that they have used the capital raised from the PDRs to provide better services to fellow Filipinos here and abroad and not with the aid of alleged “foreign investors.”
“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.”
At the end of its official statement, ABS-CBN reiterated that The Senate, House of Representatives, and even the Executive Branch assured the public that they will be given a proper renewal process for its franchise.
“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.”