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House panel orders NTC to explain ABS-CBN shutdown order or be held in contempt

A media crew cab enters the ABS-CBN Broadcasting Center, the office of the country’s top broadcast network, following a move by the Philippine government to scrap its franchise, in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, February 10, 2020. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

The House Committee on Legislative Franchises has ordered on Tuesday the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to explain why they should not be held for contempt for issuing the cease and desist order to stop the broadcast operations of network giant ABS-CBN.

In an order dated May 5, the panel gave NTC 72 hours to answer. The order was addressed to NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba, Deputy Commissioners Edgardo Cabarios and Delilah Deles, and Atty. Ella Blanca Lopez, head of the commission’s legal branch.

“The act of the NTC constitutes undue interference on and disobedience to the exercise of the power of the House of Representatives, and therefore, an affront to its dignity and an inexcusable disrespect of its authority,” the order read.

According to staff at the office of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, the order was sent to the NTC via email only at 12:36 PM on Monday. The Office of the Commissioner at the NTC acknowledged receipt of the order at 12:46 p.m.

On May 5, ABS-CBN halted its broadcast operations after the NTC issued a cease-and-desist order against the network as its franchise expired that day before.

Earlier, Cayetano slammed the ‘sudden flip-flopping’ of the NTC and the ‘unconstitutional meddling’ of the Solicitor General in the NTC’s order to shut down ABS-CBN.

READ:  “There will be reckoning” Cayetano slams NTC, Calida for meddling over ABS-CBN franchise renewal

“Despite their assurance given under oath. Despite the legal opinion of the Department of Justice. Despite a resolution from the Senate, and several verbal and written assurances given to Congress – the NTC appears to have succumbed to pressure from the Solicitor General, and issued a cease and desist order to ABS-CBN,” Cayetano stated.

On Thursday, ABS-CBN has asked the Supreme Court to issue a temporary restraining order against the NTC closure order.

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