Did the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) just single out ABS-CBN with its impeccably timed and surprising cease and desist order?
NTC just made history yesterday (May 5) after its very own deputy commissioner revealed that it is the first time that the NTC issued a cease and desist order (CDO) against an entity with an expired congressional franchise.
“As far as I can recall, this is the first time,” NTC deputy commissioner Edgardo Cabarios was quoted saying in an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
He even added, “Usually, we issue a CDO for violating the NTC’s rules.”
Cabarios is one of the signatories in the NTC CDO that instructed ABS-CBN yesterday to “stop operating its various TV and radio broadcasting stations nationwide.”
NTC’s main ground in issuing the CDO is that ABS-CBN’s 25-year franchise already lapsed. But it seems that the NTC has singled out ABS-CBN.
Other companies have continued to broadcast despite having expired franchises. There’s the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Philippine Telegraph & Telephone Corp. (PT&T), and Smart Communications. These media entities were allowed by the government to operate even if their franchise has expired according to a report on ABS-CBN News Online (February 12, 2020).
So why wasn’t the same principle applied to ABS-CBN that has been waiting for Congress to tackle its franchise renewal bill?
Moreover, it is appalling that no less than NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba himself assured lawmakers in a committee hearing on March 10 that NTC will issue a provisional authority for ABS-CBN to provide temporary relief.
“May I assure this committee that barring a gross violation of its franchise of the NTC rules and regulations, the NTC will follow the latest advice of the DOJ [Department of Justice] and let ABS-CBN continue operations based on equity,” he said in the committee hearing that was broadcast live.
That day, Cordoba’s words were able to quell the fears of thousands of ABS-CBN employees, artists, supporters, and more. He was under oath after all, but now the whole world knows that he lied. The NTC Commissioner gave into the pressure of Solicitor General Jose Calida’s threat that he will file graft charges to the NTC if it gives the Kapamilya network a provisional permit to operate.
As a public servant, Cordoba did not uphold his sworn duty to serve the Filipino people. As leader of the NTC, he prioritized his own welfare. He cowered with fear. His actions speak volumes of his character. How can we put our trust to leaders who do not show any integrity?
If you wish to file a complaint to the NTC regarding the cease and desist order, follow these steps:
Click the link below: http://ntc.gov.ph/?page_id=5575%20Complaint%20Page
Provide your name, phone number and email address
Copy the message below and paste in the message box: “Objection to your cease and desist order towards ABS-CBN which goes against your commitment to uphold (last March 2020) the STATUS QUO order of Congress; and your previous practice of issuing temporary restraining permits to ongoing franchise deliberations. Your course of action goes contrary to the just and equitable interpretation of the law.”
In these dark and difficult times, choose to be brave. Choose to speak up. Choose to stand for what is right. Defend ABS-CBN.