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Malacañang said it respects the decision of the Supreme Court (SC) to dismiss the quo warranto plea filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida against broadcasting firm ABS-CBN Corp.

“We respect the decision of the High Court, a separate and co-equal branch of government, on the quo warranto case filed against ABS-CBN Corporation,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press statement.

Roque issued the statement the same day the SC en banc junked Calida’s request to revoke ABS-CBN’s franchise, as it ruled that the issue was already “moot” because the franchise already expired on May 4.

In February, Calida filed a petition for quo warranto, asking the SC to nullify ABS-CBN’s franchise due to the networks’ supposed violations of conditions set by Congress for the 25-year operation of its television and radio broadcasting stations.

Calida alleged that ABS-CBN allowed foreign entities to take part in the ownership of a Philippine mass media entity, which is a violation of the 1987 Constitution.

He also accused the network of launching the TV Plus subscription service and the KBO Channel without the National Telecommunications Communications’ (NTC) approval.

Roque said the Palace would let Calida take appropriate legal actions following the SC’s latest ruling.

“We leave it to the Solicitor-General as the Petitioner to decide on his next legal steps,” he said.

ABS-CBN’s franchise already expired on May 4 after Congress failed to give the network a new franchise.

ABS-CBN went off the air on May 5 after the NTC issued a cease and desist order against the local media giant following the expiration of its franchise.

ABS-CBN has repeatedly maintained that it did not commit any violation.

On May 7, ABS-CBN asked SC to nullify and set aside the NTCs cease and desist order, claiming that the state commission “gravely abused its discretion” when it made the ruling.

Roque reiterated that the executive branch would let Congress decide on the fate of ABS-CBN’s franchise.

“Meanwhile on the issue of renewal of ABS-CBN franchise, we consider this a prerogative of Congress, which is presently deliberating on the matter,” he said.

The bills granting a fresh franchise to ABS-CBN remain pending before the House of Representatives.

Malacañang earlier guaranteed that President Rodrigo Duterte would not veto the franchise bill that would be approved by lawmakers once it reaches his table and if there is no constitutional infirmity.


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