It’s been more than a month since the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) issued the cease-and-desist order (CDO) that prompted the ABS-CBN shutdown and things aren’t looking up for the network and its employees. In today’s House committee meeting on ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal, AnaKalusugan partylist Rep. Michael Defensor questioned the continued airing of its shows through ABS-CBN TV Plus. “Natapos na ang prangkisa, pero pinapayagan pa ng NTC na umere ang mga programa gamit ang Digibox. The fact that it continues to air using the same frequency is not only a violation of the franchise but it is usurpation and infringement of the powers of Congress,” he said.
In the meeting, NTC commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba added that they wrote to the Office of the Solicitor General when they found out that the Kapamilya Channel was airing on Channel 43 through the frequency of AMCARA Broadcasting Network. “Nag-issue kami ng CDO against ABS-CBN na ‘wag na sila umere dahil paso na ang kanilang franchise. Kasama dapat dito dapat ay ang Channel 43, ang digital channel ng network,” said Cordoba. “Ang sabi po ng Office of the Solicitor General is tama nga, kasama nga po ito at puwede po kaming mag-issue ng alias cease-and-desist order.”
Senior Deputy Majority Leader Rep. Boying Remulla of Cavite’s 7th district, who once questioned the citizenship of former ABS-CBN chairman Gabby Lopez, said that the network is committing usufruct of another franchise. For those wondering what usufruct is, Article 562 of the civil code states that it “gives a right to enjoy the property of another with the obligation of preserving its form and substance, unless the title constituting it or the law otherwise provides.” In layman’s terms, it is the legal right to use someone else’s property temporarily and to keep any profit made from it.
ABS-CBN President and CEO Carlo Katigbak says that Channel 43 was not part of the initial CDO and explained, “AMCARA broadcasting is not owned by ABS-CBN; we have a block time arrangement with them. Block time agreement is not a usufruct. It is a commercial agreement; marami ding ibang broadcaster ang gumagawa nito.” ABS-CBN legal services head Atty. Caesar Poblador stated that the network’s multiple channel system follows the digital migration plan of NTC.
Screenshot of the list of stations included in the initial cease-and-desist order
Rep. Remulla announced that they have found grounds to file charges against Cordoba “for willfully disobeying the power of Congress, allowing ABS-CBN to operate without a franchise.” SAGIP partylist Rep. Rodante Marcoleta added that Cordoba should resign because it took him 19 days to say that he will be issuing an alias CDO.
Cordoba expressed that since their office just received guidance from the Office of the Solicitor General this morning, their legal department is still studying the case and will forthwith issue the alias CDO once they’re ready.