House lawmakers may be forced to detain officials of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) inside the Batasang Pambansa premises if they are not satisfied with the latter's explanation in issuing a cease and desist order against ABS-CBN, the chair of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises said.
Palawan Representative Franz Alvarez made the remark on Monday after his panel issued a show cause order against NTC officials to explain why they should not be cited in contempt for ordering the shutdown of ABS-CBN's broadcast operations.
"Kailangan nilang i-explain sa atin at ma-satisfy ang committee at ang Congress kung ano ba talaga ang naging reason nila sa kanilang pag-flip-flop o pag-backtrack sa kanilang naging commitment sa atin," Alvarez said in a radio interview.
"Pwede natin silang i-contempt... Pwede natin silang i-hold sa Congress. Meron naman tayong mga naka-ready doon na mga holding room. Hangga't masatisfy nila tayo, doon muna sila. Kumbaga iha-house muna natin sila sa Congress," he added.
The NTC officials were given 72 hours to give their explanation upon receipt of the show cause order at noon on Monday.
Alvarez said the order was issued to allow the officials to clarify once and for all their reasons for issuing the cease and desist order.
This is even as they committed during a March 10 hearing of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises that they would grant ABS-CBN a provisional franchise to operate after its franchise lapsed.
"Kung meron naman silang i-cite na legal issue na talagang natali ang kanilang kamay, wala silang ibang choice kundi talagang mag-issue ng CDO, siguro masa-satisfy ang committee dahil legal na yun," Alvarez said.
"Pero kung ang kanilang reason ay hindi naman talaga matibay, hindi pa rin tayo masa-satisfy niyan," he added.
Alvarez said they will wait for the NTC's response before they act on the ABS-CBN franchise issue.
"Hintayin muna natin ang sagot ng NTC kasi doon natin made-determine yung ating susunod na mga hakbang, after nating makuha ang sagot ng NTC," he said. — BM, GMA News