Cayetano breaks silence on ABS-CBN shutdown

MANILA, Philippines – "Last Tuesday we were all ambushed by the NTC," House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said on Friday, breaking his silence on ABS-CBN shutdown due to expiration of its congressional franchise.
Cayetano breaks silence on ABS-CBN shutdown

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) issued a Cease and Desist order against ABS-CBN on May 5 "to stop operating its various TV and radio broadcasting stations nationwide."

READ: NTC orders ABS-CBN to stop operations

"Despite their assurance given under oath. Despite the legal opinion of the Department of Justice. Despite a resolution from the Senate, and several verbal and written assurances given to Congress - the NTC appears to have succumbed to pressure from the Solicitor General, and issued a cease and desist order to ABS-CBN," Cayetano said.

READ: ABS-CBN releases statement on cease and desist order issued by NTC

Solicitor General Jose Calida, who earlier sought to nullify ABS-CBN's franchise through a quo warranto petition, pressed the NTC to stop the network's broadcast instead of granting it provisional authority, according to a copy of his April 30 letter.

Cayetano highlighted the sudden flip-flopping of the NTC and the unconstitutional meddling by the Solicitor General in the business of Congress. "I promise you - there will be a reckoning," he said.

"The Committee on Legislative Franchises will conduct hearings in a manner that is consistent with what we have always said. That is - fair, impartial, thorough, and comprehensive," he added.

The Congress, which is prioritizing more important issues in the country such as the 2020 budget and COVID-19 pandemic, "has no choice but to once again rise to the occasion and fix the mess others make. To our critics, in and outside of the House, you are free to say what you will. As we are free to respond in our own way," he said.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte was "completely neutral" on ABS-CBN franchise after he accepted the network's apology for airing a political ad sponsored by former senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

On Thursday, ABS-CBN asked the Supreme Court to stop the shutdown order.

— The Summit Express

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