On Tuesday, the Supreme Court dismissed the quo warrant filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida against ABS-CBN, as the franchise in question had already expired in May.
Spokesman Brian Keith Hosaka claimed that the High Court had junked Calida ‘s request to revoke the earlier franchise of the network for alleged infringements of the terms set by Congress when it granted a 25-year authority to the Lopez-owned company to broadcast its content on television and radio.
“I was able to confirm with Chief Justice Peralta that the Supreme Court dismissed today during their En Banc meeting the Quo Warranto petition filed by the Solicitor General against ABS-CBN Corporation on the ground of mootness,” he said in a statement.
One of the allegations that Calida used to file the Quo Warranto against ABS CBN its where he stated that the network launched the TV Plus subscription service and the KBO Channel without the approval of the National Telecommunications Commission.
In its quo warranto petition to the SC, Calida alleged that the KBO Channel operates without the requisite government licenses, such as the National Telecommunications Commission.
“Since ABS-CBN Corporation, without the requisite authority from NTC, has been continuously operating from KBO Channel, and illegally deriving profit from this unauthorized enterprise, the State can ask the Court to enjoin such operation,” Calida told the SC.
Also, Calida alleged that, despite being prohibited by the Constitution, ABS-CBN allowed foreign investors to “take part in the ownership of a Philippine mass media entity” through the issuance of Philippine depositary receipts.
“Like Rappler, ABS-CBN had issued Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDR) through ABS-CBN Holdings Corporation to foreigners, in violation of the foreign ownership restriction on mass media in the Constitution,” said Calida in a statement.
Malacañang claimed that it respects the judgment of the Supreme Court and reiterated that the extension of the franchise is a matter for Congress.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque also added that Calida is free to decide on his next legal action in the case.
“We leave it to the Solicitor-General as the petitioner to decide on his next legal steps, meanwhile, on the issue of renewal of ABS-CBN franchise, we consider this a prerogative of Congress, which is presently deliberating on the matter,” Roque said.
ABS-CBN was forced to shut down on May 5 after the NTC issued a cease and desist order upon the prompting of the solicitor general.