Malacañang respects ABS-CBN’s appeal to Supreme Court against NTC

Marje Pelayo   •   May 9, 2020   •   966

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang said it respects the ABS-CBN Corporation’s appeal to the Supreme Court (SC) against the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque said it is the right of the network to seek legal remedies for its case.

“That’s their right. Let’s await the decision of the Court,” Roque said when asked about the petition filed by ABS-CBN which seeks for a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the cease and desist order issued by the NTC.

On the petition, the media network is questioning the NTC’s alleged “grave abuse of discretion” when it issued the order.

The NTC also allegedly violated the equal protection of the law and due process as well as the public’s right to information.

Meanwhile, law expert Atty. George Erwin Garcia believes such a legal remedy is the best way to resolve the shutdown order.

Through this, ABS-CBN can resume operation of its television and radio stations.

The TRO is more effective than a political remedy which is Congress’ approval of the ABS-CBN franchise renewal bill

Dahil ang issue ay legal, hindi siya factual issue, therefore, sa aking paniniwala, papasok ang discretion ng Kataas-taasang Hukuman. At dahil mayroong constitutional rights na involved, at dahil wala pa siyang interpretation before, then tama lamang, just to protect the rights and interest of everyone, na makapag-issue siya ng TRO,” he added.

(Because the issue here is legal and not a factual issue, therefore, I believe the Supreme Court’s discretion will come in. And since it involves constitutional rights and because the SC has no prior interpretation, it’s only right — to protect the rights and interest of everyone — for SC to issue a TRO). MNP (with inputs from Rosalie Coz),

Malacañang expressed alarm over slay of Calbayog City mayor

Marje Pelayo   •   March 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang expressed alarm over the killing of Calbayog City Mayor Ronaldo Aquino.

The Palace suspects the incident is related to the upcoming 2022 elections.

Following the incident, the Department of Justice (DOJ) directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct a separate investigation on the incident.

“Kinokondena po natin iyan dahil, ang karapatang mabuhay po ay pinaka-importanteng karapatan, at nanunumbalik po kami at naalarma dahil po mayor po ang pinatay,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

“Baka po ito ay simula na naman ng patayan dahil sa pulitika sa panahong papalapit na ang eleksyon,” he added.

Palace defends Duterte order to reduce number of holidays for 2021

Robie de Guzman   •   March 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang has defended President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to cancel some traditional holidays for this year in a bid to spur the economy battered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under Proclamation No. 1107, Duterte moved to declare traditional holidays of Nov. 2, Dec. 24, and Dec. 31 as special working days “to encourage economic productivity by minimizing work disruption and commemorating some special holidays as special (working) days instead.”

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the order was based on the recommendation of the administration’s economic managers to support economic recovery.

“Napakatagal na po natin nakabakasyon. Halos isang taon na tayong nagbakasyon dahil sa COVID-19,” Roque said in a virtual briefing.

“Siguro naman po ngayong nandito na ang bakuna, hayaan naman nating maka-recover tayo for lost time,” he added.

The imposition of lengthy lockdowns to curb the spread of COVID-19 has led the Philippine economy to a slump. The pandemic has also affected millions of workers and businesses.

Opposition lawmakers, however, called on Malacañang to reconsider its decision, saying the reclassification of traditional holidays into special working days will affect workers’ pay as they will no longer get additional holiday pay equal to 30 percent of their basic daily wage.

In response to their calls, Roque said that “nothing is etched in stone” and that there is still a possibility that this will change with the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in the country.

“Pero tingnan po natin kung anong mangyayari, nothing is etched in stone naman po. Tingnan natin baka naman dahil may bakuna na eh makabalik na tayo sa dati at baka hindi na natin kinakailangan maghabol pa ‘no,” he said.

The Philippines on Monday started its COVID-19 immunization program following receipt of 600,000 doses of Sinovac’s CoronaVac vaccine, courtesy of the Chinese government. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Sinopharm files for EUA in PH — Roque

Marje Pelayo   •   March 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Monday (March 1) confirmed that China’s Sinopharm has already filed for emergency use authorization (EUA) of its COVID-19 vaccine with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

This was confirmed by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque at a press briefing.

“They have already filed with the fda an application for eua for sinopharm vaccine, nai-file na po,” he said during the kick off vaccination event in UP-PGH.

The Sinopharm vaccine has been controversial as it was the brand injected to members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) last year despite lack of proper authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

It is also the brand that is preferred by President Rodrigo Duterte himself.

However, FDA Director General Dr. Eric Domingo in Laging Handa public briefing on PTV earlier today said he has not seen an application as of Friday.  He is also not sure if the application was filed online.

“As of last Friday po, wala pa naman akong nabalitaan na natanggap kami na EUA application from Sinopharm,” Domingo said.

“Hindi ko alam kung nag-apply sila online over the weekend pero wala pa pong sinasabi sa akin,” he added.

Should the EUA application be received, the FDA will have a long process of reviewing it similar to Sinovac;s CoronaVac vaccine.

Specifically, it will take more than 21 days or more likely from four to six weeks because Sinopharm has not received any EUA from much stringent regulatory authorities such as the United States, the United Kingdom and the World Health Organization.

At present, only three vaccines are FDA-approved for emergency use in the Philippines.

These are COVID-19 vaccines fro, Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, and Sinovac. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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