Senate to NTC: Reconsider ABS-CBN shutdown order

The Senate on Monday, May 11, passed a resolution expressing its sense that the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) should reconsider the cease and desist order it issued against media giant ABS-CBN and its affiliates.

Through Senate Resolution No. 395, more than half of the senators questioned NTC's shutdown order against ABS-CBN's franchise on May 5, citing precedence and the quasi-judicial body's "liberality" in issuing franchise extension.

ABS-CBN's franchise expired on May 4. After the shutdown order, the media giant asked the Supreme Court (SC) to grant it immediate relief through a temporary restraining order. The case was  raffled off to a justice on Monday.

On the Senate resolution, at least 8 senators abstained from voting, arguing that the ball is now at the lower chamber as well as the SC. They are: 

  • Senate President Vicente Sotto III
  • Senator Panfilo Lacson
  • Senator Francis Tolentino
  • Senator Cynthia Villar
  • Senator Imee Marcos
  • Senator Ronald dela Rosa
  • Senator Bong Go
  • Senator Bong Revilla
  • Senator Pia Cayetano

Cayetano, who was originally among the senators who signed the resolution, said that she would like to "refrain from making comments" while the complaint pending at the High Court. She withdrew her signature from the resolution. 

The resolution reiterated the Senate's stand that ABS-CBN should be allowed to continue operations while its franchise is pending.

The shutdown order was met with public uproar, with lawmakers, labor, and media groups slamming NTC's move. NTC previously committed to issue a provisional authority to ABS-CBN, but backtracked after Solicitor General Jose Calida warned the agency against it. 

On Monday, the House panel on legislative franchises issued a show cause order against NTC, asking why it should not be held in contempt. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.

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