The Supreme Court will start tackling a petition by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to scrap the broadcast franchise of ABS-CBN Corp on March 10.
The Supreme Court, which sat en banc on Wednesday, did not act on Solicitor General Jose Calida’s quo warranto petition and gag order motion against the network.
“The case will be taken up again by the en banc on March 10, 2020,” said lawyer Brian Keith Hosaka, the Supreme Court’s spokesman.
“This is to give the Justices time to go over the pleadings submitted by the parties, including the comments recently filed by the respondents,” Hosaka said.
Calida accused ABS-CBN Corp. and its subsidiary ABS-CBN Convergence of various abuses, including illegal pay-per-view offering and foreign ownership.
But, ABS-CBN had said it “did not violate the law” in its 65-year service.
President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to shut down the network, which he accused of estafa or fraud for failing to air some of his 2016 election ads.
Duterte “has nothing to do” with ABS-CBN’s franchise woes and his threats should not be taken literally, his spokesman Salvador Panelo earlier said.
The House of Representatives has yet to tackle several bill seeking to extend ABS-CBN’s license to operate, which expires in May.
ABS-CBN can operate until 2022, when the 18th Congress ends, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano earlier said.
The network’s franchise is deemed extended as long as there is a pending bill for its renewal, both Senate President Vicente Sotto and House legislative franchise committee vice chairperson Isabela Rep. Tonypet Albano have said.
The network’s franchise will expire in May.
Congress has yet to act on pending bills seeking its renewal./Stacy Ang