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Palace: ABS-CBN free to challenge NTC order to stop operations

Malacañang on Tuesday insisted that the decision whether to allow broadcast giant ABS-CBN to operate sans legislative franchise belongs to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

The NTC has ordered ABS-CBN to stop broadcasting after its 25-year legislative franchise expired on Monday. The Lopez-owned company said it would comply with the directive.

“We thank the network for its services to the Filipino nation and people especially in this time of COVID-19. But in the absence of a legislative franchise, as we have earlier said, ABS-CBN’s continued operation is entirely with the NTC’s decision,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.

However, ABS-CBN is free to appeal the order.

“ABS-CBN is free to exhaust all legal remedies available to it,” he said.

Roque also said President Rodrigo Duterte had already accepted the apology of the network over the unaired campaign ads in 2016 and left the fate of its franchise to Congress.

The unaired advertisements had long been the center of Duterte’s tirades against ABS-CBN, but the Palace repeatedly said these sentiments should not be interpreted to mean that the President seeks to shutter the network. 

“Let the public be informed that broadcast franchises are within the authority of Congress. It has discretion on what to do with the legislative franchise of ABS-CBN and other broadcasting companies similarly situated,” Roque said. — BM, GMA News

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