MANILA – Deputy Speaker Paolo Duterte on Monday filed a resolution seeking a congressional inquiry on the probable violations of broadcast network ABS-CBN regarding its legislative franchise.
In House Resolution No. 853, Duterte claimed that the ABS-CBN Corporation violated its franchise when it operated a pay-per-view channel through free-to-air signals.
“By charging the public with its pay-per-view Kapamilya Box Office (KBO) channel through ABS-CBN TV Plus, it has been gaining huge profits at the expense of the public while using the air frequencies provided by the government for free,” Duterte said.
Duterte also noted that the network continued its operation of the pay-per-view channel despite being ordered by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to refrain from doing so and await the issuance of appropriate guidelines.
Meanwhile, he said ABS-CBN Corporation’s issuance of Philippine Depository Receipts (PDRs) to non-Filipino citizens through ABS-CBN Holdings is in violation of the 1987 Constitution, particularly a provision restricting foreign ownership of mass media.
He added that the foreign equity in ABS-CBN also violates the Foreign Investments Act and Presidential Decree No. 1018, which limits the ownership and management of mass media to Filipinos.
Duterte co-authored the bill with House committee on appropriations chair Eric Yap and Cavite Rep. Abraham Tolentino.
The NTC, in its cease and desist order, ordered ABS-CBN to stop the operations of its television and radio stations after the broadcast firm’s legislative franchise expired on May 4, 2020.
ABS-CBN on Thursday urged SC to nullify and set aside the NTC’s order, claiming that the commission “gravely abused its discretion” when it issued a cease and desist order.
It also argued that NTC’s order “violates the right of the public to information and curtail freedom of speech, as well as cause serious and irreparable damage on ABS-CBN and thousands of its employees if its implementation is not halted”. (IA/PNA)