Palace denies PRRD’s role in plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise

President Rodrigo R. Duterte has no hand in the supposed plan of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to file a case before the Supreme Court, seeking the revocation of the congressional franchise of local media giant ABS-CBN Corp., Malacañang said on Thursday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said there was no attempt from the President to order Solicitor General Jose Calida to file a petition against ABS-CBN before the high tribunal.

“Kung may instruction ba si Presidente? Wala. Trabaho kasi ni SolGen ‘yun (Was there such an instruction from the President? None. That’s the job of the SolGen),” Panelo said in a Palace press briefing. “You must remember that the job of the SolGen is to file the appropriate petitions when he sees or feels that there is transgression of franchises or any law of that matter.”

The OSG is set to lodge a quo warranto petition against ABS-CBN before the Supreme Court on Thursday, according to a report by local broadsheet The Manila Times on Wednesday.

The Manila Times said the OSG wants ABS-CBN’s legislative franchise revoked due to the broadcast firm’s supposed violations of the stated “terms and conditions”.

Panelo said the OSG’s latest move was not prompted by Duterte’s previous rants against ABS-CBN.

The Office of the President, he said, has not even seen the petition drafted by Calida’s office.

“I read about it (the report) and I have to talk to the SolGen yet. I haven’t seen the petition if it has already been drafted,” Panelo said.

ABS-CBN’s 25-year franchise will expire on March 30 unless Congress and the President grant its renewal.

A legislative franchise bill needs to first get the nod of the Senate and the House of Representatives before it can be transmitted to Duterte who has the power to either approve or veto any proposed measure.

ABS-CBN would be forced to cease the operation of its television and radio broadcasting stations, in case it fails to secure a fresh 25-year congressional franchise.

Duterte earlier said he would make sure that ABS-CBN would be “out” of business, when its license to operate expires because of its supposed unfair reporting and failure to run his political advertisements during the 2016 presidential race.

On Dec. 8, 2019, Panelo said the renewal of the local media giant’s franchise would still be up to Congress.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar last December 18 said ABS-CBN can still run its other media platforms, in case it fails to secure a new franchise. (PNA)

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