ABS-CBN petition vs NTC closure order to be raffled on Monday – SC

Robie de Guzman   •   May 8, 2020   •   496

MANILA, Philippines – The ABS-CBN’s petition against the shutdown order of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) will be raffled on Monday, May 11, the Supreme Court (SC) said.

In a statement on Friday, the SC Public Information Office confirmed receipt of ABS-CBN Corporation’s petition which seeks to nullify and set aside the cease and desist order issued by the NTC.

The SC said the media network also pleaded for the release of a temporary restraining order (TRO) and/or preliminary injunction “to prevent grave and irreparable injury” to the network and its employees.

“The Supreme Court received yesterday, May 7, 2020 at 3:16 pm a Petition for Certiorari with prayer for TRO and/or Preliminary Injunction filed by ABS-CBN Corporation against the National Telecommunications Commission,” the SC said.

“The petition will be raffled to a member-in-Charge on Monday, May 11, who will then make a recommendation for the consideration of the Court En Banc,” it added.

The NTC issued a cease and desist order on May 5, directing ABS-CBN to stop operating its various TV and radio broadcasting stations nationwide due to the expiration of its legislative franchise. The network’s franchise expired on May 4.

In its petition, the media network said the NTC acted with grave abuse of discretion and violated its rights to equal protection and due process by issuing the order.

The company claimed that the NTC should have deferred to Congress that have earlier sent a formal letter asking the agency to allow ABS-CBN to continue operating while bills seeking for its franchise renewal remain pending in the House of Representatives.

Malacañang earlier said that President Rodrigo Duterte is “completely neutral” on the issue, stressing that the president has already accepted ABS-CBN’s apology over his unaired political advertisements in 2016.

The Palace also said that the president wanted his allies in the Congress to vote on the ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal according to what their conscience dictates.

More petitions vs. Anti-Terrorism Act filed in SC

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 6, 2020

Four petitions were filed against the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 at the Supreme Court on Monday (July 6).

A group led by law professor Atty. Howard Calleja and former Education Secretary Armin Luistro filed their petition to question the constitutionality of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

“We are not fighting this government. We are fighting the constitutionality of this law and this law should stand not only this constitution, not only this government but should stand the governments and constitutions of our children and of our children’s children. so we are fighting not only for today but for also the future of everybody, of every Filipino,” Calleja said.

Among the provisions questioned by Calleja and Luistro are the broad and vague definition of “terrorism”, the warrantless arrest, and the 24-day detention period upon suspicion of terrorism.

“The basic safeguard of our law is and of our rights is the constitution. if you violate the constitution then there are no safeguards,” Calleja said.

Lalong nagiging perpekto ang administrasyon kapag handa nilang pakinggan kahit yung mga batikos dahil dyan nagagawang mas mabuti. Kapag ang mga ang netizens natin ay nagtatanggal na ng mga posts nila, yan na ang epekto na ayaw natin mangyari,” said Luistro.

[The administration gets perfected when it is ready to hear out even the criticisms for they make things better. When netizens start to remove their posts, then, that will be the effect that we don’t want to happen.]

Atty. Mel Sta. Maria, Dean of the Far Eastern University Institute of Law, also filed a petition, stating that aside from what Calleja has pointed out, the anti-terrorism law will affect the teaching patterns in universities.

Kaya nga ang propesor, mga teacher o mga estudyante na magmumungkahi, mag-aaral ng halimbawa ng liberation theology, halimbawa na kalakip na dun ang pag-uusap sa arms struggle, e baka sabihin nila, proposal or inciting to terrorism na yan,” Sta. Maria said.

[That’s why professors, teachers, or even students will propose or study liberation theology, for example, and part of which is a discussion on arms struggle, it might be misconstrued as a proposal or inciting to terrorism already.]

Meanwhile, both Albay 1st district Representative Edcel Lagman and the Makabayan Bloc are requesting the Supreme Court to release a temporary restraining order (TRO) or Writ of Preliminary Injunction while the court has yet to decide on the filed petitions.

“All that a devious and underhanded law enforcer or prosecutor has to do is to conveniently invoke the killer proviso to stifle political dissent and peaceable assembly for redress of grievances,” Lagman said in a statement.

Lagman said the government must ensure that the rights of the common people for free speech will not be compromised by arrests that will be made against terrorists.

“What the government must pursue is the apprehension, prosecution and conviction, once warranted, of terrorists without ensnaring into contrived culpability persons who simply exercise free speech and peaceful assembly,” the lawmaker said.

Bayan Muna Partylist Representative Carlos Zarate expressed concern that the said law might be abused and target even ordinary individuals.

“This will be weaponized not only against members of the progressive organizations but even members of the political opposition, ordinary individuals, maging miyembro ng media (even members of the media),” he said.

On the other hand, Malacañang said it is leaving the decision to the Supreme Court.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque reiterated criticizing the government will never be considered a crime under the Constitution.

“Every law passed by congress enjoys the heavy presumption of constitutionality,” he said. —AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

Palace on petitions vs. Anti-Terrorism Law: Leave it to Supreme Court

Robie de Guzman   •   July 6, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang will leave the Supreme Court (SC) to decide on petitions filed against the newly-signed Anti-Terrorism Law.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Palace will abide by whatever the ruling of the SC will be on petitions questioning the constitutionality of the measure.

“The Palace will leave it to the SC to decide on these petitions and will abide by whatever the ruling is,” he said in a statement Sunday.

The Republic Act No. 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte last Friday, July 3 despite strong opposition from various groups over concerns of possible violations of human rights.

On Monday, various groups physically trooped to the Supreme Court to urge it to stop the enforcement of the new law, claiming that the measure contained provisions that are in possible violation of the Philippine Constitution.

On Saturday, a group of lawyers and educators submitted the first petition against the controversial law.

Malacañang earlier said that prior to its signing, the measure underwent thorough review by the chief executive and his legal team.

Nevertheless, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon said groups opposing the law have the right to lodge their petition against the law.

“Iyong sa pagkuwestiyon nila sa ating Anti-Terrorism Law sa Supreme Court ay karapatan nila; hindi natin pipigilan iyan at we’ll even encourage them,” he said.

Esperon also reiterated that the measure aims to stop those who threaten, proposed and incite terroristic acts, and not people who abide by the law or those who express dissent.

He likewise stressed that the law clearly defines who are those considered as terrorists, and this does not include activists or people who only voice out their concerns and criticisms over social injustices.

“Itong ating law-abiding citizen ay walang dapat ikatakot dahil itong Anti-Terrorism Law ay para sa kapakanan at para sa seguridad ng mga law-abiding citizens. Ito ay ginawa para labanan natin ang terorismo. Ngayon, kung sino ang nagsasabing ito ay para sa kanila at tahimik naman sila eh huwag silang mababahala,” Esperon said.

The Anti-Terrorism Council is set to convene to review the law and draft its implementing rules and regulations, which will be submitted to Congress. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

NTC orders shutdown of ABS-CBN subsidiary Sky Cable, TV Plus channels

Marje Pelayo   •   July 1, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) on Tuesday (June 30) hit media giant ABS-CBN Corp. with another big blow after it issued another cease and desist order to shutdown the station’s subsidiary channels.

The orders signed by NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba covered the operation of Sky Cable and  the network’s other channels on TVPlus.

The regulatory body argued that the other platforms should also be closed because these were also covered by the CDO the agency issued on May 5.

Aside from the shutdown, the NTC also gave Sky Cable 10 days to explain why the radio frequencies assigned to it should not be recalled for lack of franchise.

“Upon the expiration of RA (Republic Act) 7969, Sky Cable Corporation no longer has a valid and subsisting congressional franchise to install, operate or maintain a Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) Service,” the order read.

Likewise, the NTC ordered the network to refund its subscribers “those amounts representing unconsumed prepaid loads, deposits on subscriber equipment and devices, deposit or advance payment in monthly charges for postpaid subscribers, if any, charges collected from new applicants for DBS service, and other charges collected.”

In a statement, Sky Cable said it will comply with the NTC order.

“Sky Cable Corporation complies with the cease and desist order (CDO) issued by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) stopping the company from operating its direct broadcast satellite service immediately,” the firm said in a statement.

“We will refund all unconsumed prepaid loads and advance postpaid payments. We appeal to our SKYdirect subscribers and partners for understanding and patience as we undergo this process,” it added.

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While ABS-CBN argued that there was no mention of Channel 43 in the May 5 shutdown order, the network immediately stopped its digital TV transmission in Metro Manila using the said channel in compliance with the alias CDO recently issued by the NTC.

“While channel 43 is not mentioned in NTC’s cease and desist order (CDO) of May 5, 2020, and it is ABS-CBN’s informed understanding that channel 43 is not included in the CDO, digital TV transmission in Metro Manila using channel 43 will cease tonight (June 30), consistent with the intent of the alias CDO,” ABS-CBN said.

This means operations of digital channels Teleradyo, Jeepney TV, Yey!, Asianovela Channel, CineMo and KBO will also cease.

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For now, ABS-CBN awaits the Supreme Court’s decision on a petition it filed against the NTC’s cease and desist order. MNP (with inputs from Vincent Arboleda)

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