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Senate hands over to NTC resolution asking provisional authority for ABS-CBN

The Senate handed over to the National Telecommunications Commission Wednesday a resolution expressing the sense of the chamber that ABS-CBN Corporation and its subsidiaries should continue operations pending the deliberation of their franchise renewal.

The resolution, adopted last week, was received by NTC deputy commissioner Edgardo Cabarios after the Senate session.

The resolution seeks to allow ABS-CBN and its subsidiaries to continue operations using a provisional authority issued by the NTC.

The goal was to buy more time for the Congress to thoroughly deliberate whether or not to renew ABS-CBN's franchise without jeopardizing the livelihood of more than 11,000 employees of the broadcast giant.

The 18th Congress will go on break starting March 13 and will only resume session on May 4, the day when ABS-CBN's franchise would expire.

During a Senate hearing on the matter, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Congress, through a concurrent resolution, may authorize the NTC to grant ABS-CBN and other similarly situated entities a provisional authority to operate. This was also the gist of his "guidance" to the NTC on the matter.

He said a concurrent resolution from Congress would provide legal basis to an existing practice in which franchise holders are allowed to continue operating if their license expires without Congress having decided their applications for renewal.

But last week, the Justice Secretary said issuances regarding the grant of a provisional permit to ABS-CBN are not direct orders that the NTC must obey.

The House of Representatives has already made a formal request to the NTC to grant ABS-CBN a provisional authority to operate. This was questioned by lawyer Larry Gadon before the Supreme Court.

The Office of the Solicitor General filed a quo warranto petition at the Supreme Court against ABS-CBN in February, accusing it of "highly abusive practices." The company refuted the allegations and maintained that it did not violate any law.—AOL, GMA News