JBC extends deadline for Chief Justice application, nomination to Sept. 2

Robie de Guzman   •   August 23, 2019   •   437

MANILA, Philippines – The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) has extended until September 2 the deadline for application and nomination of the next Chief Justice of Supreme Court, a panel member announced on Thursday.

According to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, the council decided to extend the deadline to invite more applicants to the position.

The application for the next chief justice initially closed on August 20.

Only four Supreme Court justices have filed their application and acceptance of nomination, namely, Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Andres Reyes Jr and Jose Reyes Jr.

Perlas-Bernabe and Peralta were among the five SC senior associate justices who were automatically nominated for the post. The other three magistrates are Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, Associate Justices Marvic Leonen and Benjamin Caguiao who all rejected their automatic nominations.

Carpio earlier said he declined his nomination as he is set to retire in October. Leonen and Caguiao, however, did not cite their reasons.

The chief justice position will be vacated when CJ Lucas Bersamin will reach the mandatory retirement age of 70 on October 18.

Bersamin was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as chief justice on November 28, 2018.

Former chief justice Bersamin appointed as new GSIS chair

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 14, 2020

Former Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin

President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed former Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin as the new chairperson of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).

Bersamin will replace Ronald Macasaet, who acted as GSIS officer-in-charge.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, the government is confident that Bersamin will be able to perform his duties as the new GSIS chair.

“We are confident that Mr. Bersamin would serve the GSIS with the same dedication and integrity he demonstrated in his many years of government service,” he said in a statement.

Bersamin is also named as a member of the Board of Trustees of the GSIS.—AAC

Alleged violations of ABS-CBN on its franchise sought in Senate

Maris Federez   •   February 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker is pushing for the Senate to look into the operation of ABS-CBN Corporation in relation to the allegations of franchise violations, following the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor-General Jose Calida before the Supreme Court seeking for the revocation of the broadcast network’s legislative franchise.

Senator Grace Poe said the investigation will check on the manner that the said media network complied with the terms and conditions stipulated in the franchise that was approved on March 30, 1995.

The Senate Committee on Public Services which Poe chairs will be the one to set the hearing once the House of Representatives has completed its own investigation on the matter.

Several senators expressed their support on Poe’s move.

“‘Yung senate inquiry, iba naman ang pakay. In aid of legislation, para baguhin ang Franchise Law, para baguhin ‘yung mga telecoms at NTC Act,” said Sen. Imee Marcos.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, however, clarified that this hearing is apart from the Senate’s hearing on ABS-CBN’s application renewal which is currently being heard at the Lower House.

He said Poe’s committee’s investigation will just give an input that will help the Senate determine whether or not ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal application must be approved.

It will also give the media network the opportunity to set the record straight on the allegations thrown at them.

“This is a good venue para makita natin kung may katotohanan ba talaga ‘yung kanilang mga allegations. This is a check and balance process. Hindi lang naman ABS ang nagpaparenew ng mass media franchise. Ang daming radio stations, nagpaparenew. And this is the check-and-balance power ng Kongreso,” Gatchalian said.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon also expressed his support, saying, that Congress is the only body that has jurisdiction to review ABS-CBN’s compliance of its franchise and not the Supreme Court.

“I will support Sen. Poe’s reso. Congress, not the Supreme Court, is the body that has jurisdiction to review compliance by ABS-CBN of the terms of the franchise granted by Congress, especially that there are pending bills seeking renewal of franchise,” said Drilon.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, on the other hand, said the matter must be discussed first in a caucus as he believes this might go against the sub-judice rule now that the Supreme Court has given the media network 10 days to give its comment on the Solgen’s petition.

“I will suggest to the SP (Senate President) and our colleagues, we may have to discuss it in caucus first as it may be violative of the sub judice rule, now that the SC has already asked ABS-CBN to file their comment within 10 days,” Lacson said.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III will set a caucus on Monday to discuss Poe’s resolution. —(from the report of Harlene Delgado)

OSG files quo-warranto petition vs ABS-CBN before SC

UNTV News   •   February 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Solicitor-General on Monday filed a quo warranto petition before the Supreme Court seeking the revocation of the legislative franchises of ABS-CBN Corporation and its subsidiary, the ABS-CBN Convergence, Inc.

Government lawyers accused the television network of “unlawfully exercising their legislative franchises.”

Solicitor General Jose Calida led the filing of the quo warranto petition against the broadcast network.

“We want to put an end to what we discovered to be highly abusive practices of ABS-CBN benefitting a greedy few at the expense of millions of its loyal subscribers. These practices have gone unnoticed or were disregarded for years,” Calida said in a statement.

Calida asserted that ABS-CBN has issued Philippine Depositary Receipts to foreigners and that ABS-CBN Convergence, Inc. has resorted to an “ingenious corporate layering scheme” that transfers its franchise without Congressional approval.

“It also failed to publicly offer any of its outstanding capital stock to any securities exchange within the Philippines within five years from the start of its operations, which is an indispensable condition in its franchise,” Calida said.

The OSG also alleged that ABS-CBN has been operating KBO Channel — a pay-per-view channel in ABS-CBN TV Plus “without prior approval or permit from the National Telecommunications Commission.”

ABS-CBN’s franchise is set to expire on March 30.

A bill for the renewal of its franchise has been filed before the Lower House in July 2019.

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