DOJ: Order vs ABS-CBN 'immediately executory'

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the National Telecommunications Commission's (NTC) cease and desist order against network giant ABS-CBN is "immediately executory."

"A Cease and Desist Order is immediately executory but still appealable to the courts," Guevarra told reporters Tuesday, May 5, after the NTC served an order against ABS-CBN to stop operating its facilities.

Guevarra is of the opinion that ABS-CBN can continue to operate while franchise renewals are still pending. The NTC did not share that view.

When asked whether "immediately executory" means ABS-CBN must stop broadcasting now while it appeals, Guevarra said: "I cannot answer for ABS-CBN. But a Cease and Desist Order is supposed to be effective immediately."

"It's up to ABS-CBN if it will comply. The NTC will have to enforce it if ABS-CBN does not voluntarily comply," added Guevarra.

LOOK: In the actual order, the NTC orders ABS-CBN to "immediately cease and desist from operating" its facilities "upon receipt of this order." pic.twitter.com/bL0Ji8k74E — Lian Buan (@lianbuan) May 5, 2020

Although the NTC gave ABS-CBN 10 days to respond, it said in its 4-page order that "upon receipt of this order, ABS-CBN Corporation is directed to immediately cease and desist from operating the following radio and television stations."

It went on to list 2 pages of television and radio stations, including the main Channel 2 and Channel 23.

"The respective NTC regional offices in charge of the enumerated radio and television stations are directed to implement this order," said the NTC, signed by Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba, and Deputy Commissioners Edgardo Cabarios and Delilah Deles.

Will they remain on air?

The NTC is a quasi-judicial body. Section 5, Part 5, of the NTC Rules states: "All orders, decisions or resolutions of the Commission shall take effect immediately and unless there is an appeal, shall become final upon the expiration of 15 days from notice thereof to all parties."

In a tweet, the ABS-CBN News Channel or ANC, the network's cable news channel, said: "ANC will remain on air as NTC's order does not cover cable news channel."

Guevarra, upon the request of NTC for advice, said that the principle of equity should allow ABS-CBN to keep its operations while its franchise renewal is ongoing before Congress.

The House of Representatives was of the same position, even condemning earlier Tuesday the statement of Solicitor Genera Jose Calida warning NTC not to give ABS-CBN a provisional permit.

Calida had filed a quo warranto petition before the Supreme Court to void ABS-CBN's franchise. Malacañang said the decision was up to the NTC.

"The NTC requested our opinion and the DOJ gave them an advice in accordance with law and equity. the congress expressed essentially the same view as that of the DOJ and further enjoined the NTC to issue a provisional authority to ABS-CBN," said Guevarra.

"The NTC issued a cease-and-desist order instead. It must have a very good reason for doing so. Let's wait for its explanation," Guevarra added. – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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