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Supreme Court junks ABS-CBN challenge to NTC shutdown order for mootness


The Supreme Court (SC) has dismissed ABS-CBN's petition challenging the National Telecommunications Commission's cease and desist order that forced it to shut down broadcast operations last May.

Voting unanimously, the court dismissed the case for mootness in light of the denial of the House bills seeking the renewal of ABS-CBN's franchise, court spokesman Brian Keith Hosaka said Tuesday.

"Because of this supervening event, there is no actual substantial relief which ABS-CBN Corporation would be entitled to regardless of the Court's disposition of the merits of the Petition," Hosaka told reporters.

ABS-CBN had turned to the highest Philippine court to contest the NTC order for it to cease operating several of its television and radio stations following the expiration of its franchise last May 4.

At the time, bills for the renewal of the franchise were pending before the House of Representatives.

The broadcast company argued that the NTC gravely abused its discretion and violated ABS-CBN's rights to equal protection of the law and to due process, as well as the public's right to information.

ABS-CBN also said that Congress has the power to determine the company's rights and obligations until it has decided whether or not to renew the network's franchise.

The House franchise committee denied ABS-CBN a new franchise last July in a move that critics said dealt a blow to press freedom in the country.

This is the second time that the SC has dismissed a petition concerning ABS-CBN for being moot and academic.

In June, the court dismissed Solicitor General Jose Calida's petition seeking the forfeiture of ABS-CBN's then-existing franchise.—AOL, GMA News