The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has answered the show cause order issued by the House of Representatives.
On Thursday, May 14, NTC sent a response letter to the Congress addressed to House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Committee on Legislative Franchises Chair Rep. Franz Alvarez.
“Nonetheless, we regret failing to notify you, the Honorable Speaker, and the House of Representatives, and in particular the Chairperson and members of the Committee on Legislative Franchise, of our decision to issue a CDO against ABS-CBN following the expiration of its franchise last 4 May 2020,” said NTC officials in the letter.
“We are deeply saddened as well for the inconvenience we may have caused Congress. Again, we express our contriteness and sincere apologies for the ensuing confusion this has caused, not the least because we are in the midst of a crisis.
“The representation was made upon the good faith belief that the issuance of the PA by the NTC provided the best possible solution at that time.
“NTC could have thus exercised more openness and prudence under the circumstances and, at the very least, alerted Congress of NTC’s inability based on legal grounds to issue the PA as well as its subsequent decision to issue a CDO when the franchise of ABS-CBN expired,” NTC explained.
On May 11, the House committee on legislative franchises issued a show cause order against the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) officials Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba, Deputy Commissioner Edgardo Cabarios, Deputy Commissioner Delilah Deles, and Legal Branch Head Ella Blanca Lopez directing them to explain why it should not be held in contempt for issuing the CDO against ABS-CBN.
“The act of the NTC constitutes undue interference on and disobedience to the exercise of the power of the House of Representatives, and, therefore, an affront to its dignity and an excusable disrespect of its authority,” said Committee Chair Rep. Franz Alvarez.
Meanwhile, although NTC officials regret not alarming the Congress of their plan of going back on their commitment to issue provisional authority to the media network, they deemed it necessary to issue CDO instead because “Constitution, the laws, and jurisprudence, provided insurmountable obstacles to the issuance of a PA, notwithstanding equitable considerations.”
“If the NTC were to issue a PA (provisional authority), it would have amounted to encroachment into the exclusive domain of Congress,”
NTC also explained that they have taken into consideration the OSG’s comment and other jurisprudence.
“The NTC also considered the Comment submitted by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) in a petition pending before the Supreme Court as the ‘statutory counsel’ of the NTC, as well as the letter dated 30 April 2020 that it sent the NTC, both vigorously asserting that the positions were taken by the DOJ, the Senate, and the Congress supporting the issuance of a PA were contrary to the Constitution, the law, and jurisprudence which vested upon Congress the sole power to grant or renew a franchise,” the officials said.
“Correspondingly, the OSG cautioned the NTC that its issuance of the PA would make its members liable for a criminal prosecution,” they added.
Meanwhile, upon learning about the NTC’s explanation several netizens took to Twitter to share their sentiments about it.
Kapamilya broadcaster Julius Babao slammed the explanation of NTC as lame excuse.
The National Telecommunications Commission forgot to communicate? Talk to the hand. 🖐🏻 https://t.co/44a3Uisrww
— julius babao (@juLiusbabao) May 14, 2020
Other netizens, on the other hand, slammed NTC saying the damage has already been done.
Mag explain sila sa pagong
— Cecil Dylan (@Cecil_Dylan) May 14, 2020
malaki ang damage sa ginawa ng NTC sa ABSCBN. apology is not enough…but it can settle through legal ways….pro naniniwala ako na, ito ay part ng kwento…scripted kumbaga. ang tauhan: ABS, NTC,HOR,DOJ,OSG…and soon SC na mag-iisue ng moot and academic sa TRO request ng ABS.
— Filipino (@notosmile) May 14, 2020
kalokohan, alam naman natin kayo kayo lang s gubyerno nag uusap jan, mga hindut
— EJ Z🅰️Ⓜ️0️⃣R🅰️ (@bachelor_EJ) May 14, 2020