Palace says ABS-CBN can apply for new franchise despite quo warranto
Malacanang said on Thursday that ABS-CBN could always apply for a new franchise before Congress despite the quo warranto petition against its license before the Supreme Court.
In an interview by ANC, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that Solicitor General Jose Calida filed a petition to revoke the existing franchise of the Lopez-owned company because it is his "constitutional duty," otherwise, he would be charged for dereliction of duty.
"He cannot close his eyes to any violation regardless of the time because it is only now that he discovered that there has been violation by the ABS-CBN. And let the court decide whether or not he's correct on that," he said.
But Panelo, who is also the chief presidential legal counsel, said ABS-CBN could always seek for a franchise irrespective of the outcome of the quo warranto.
"You know, actually the filing of the petition is 'a much ado about nothing' with respect to the opposition because if the quo warranto succeeds, then all the ABS-CBN can do is to apply for a new franchise. There's nothing that would prevent them from applying again for a new franchise," he said.
"Because you must remember that it is supposed to expire on the 30th, if I'm not mistaken in March, and even members of the Congress are saying that that can be extended up to June-something," he added.
Panelo also said President Rodrigo Duterte was not trying to influence Congress against the renewal of ABS-CBN's franchise.
"All one has to do is to look at the record of Congress and the President’s not interfering with its function. You must remember that Congress, in confirming the appointments of the President, has that authority and many of the appointees of the President in the Cabinet did not passed Congress. He could have, if he wanted to do, interfere given the so-called perception that he controls Congress, but he never did," he explained.
"In that same way that he never interferes with the Supreme Court relative to any cases pending before it that involves the government," he said. Celerina Monte/DMS