The Court of Appeals (CA) has ordered the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to comply with a directive of the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) to issue a permit to an affiliate of Now Corp. to operate interactive pay television (TV) and multimedia services.
In a 33-page ruling penned by Associate Justice Perpetua Susana Atal-Paño of the Special 8th Division, the appellate court granted News and Entertainment Network Corp.’s petition for mandamus that sought to compel NTC to comply with ARTA’s order dated Feb. 12, 2020, automatically approving the petitioner’s application for the issuance of a Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC).
The CPC would enable the holder to install, operate, and maintain a local multi-point distribution system (LMDS) to deliver interactive pay television and multimedia services in South Luzon, North Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao in the 25.35 GHz 26.35 GHz frequency range with authority to charge rates
In its decision, the CA found the petition to be meritorious, affirming that the ARTA, has jurisdiction over the NTC.
The CA cited the Ease of Doing Business Act, of which ARTA’s jurisdiction applies to all government offices and agencies that provide services covering business and non-business related transactions which includes the NTC.
“Even assuming arguendo that an application proceedings before the NTC involve its quasi-judicial function, the Ease of Doing Business Act conferred jurisdiction to the ARTA over government agencies performing quasi-judicial functions,” it added.
“Whether or not the application of Newsnet involves purely administrative or quasi-judicial functions of the NTC, the latter is covered by the Ease of Doing Business Act,” the order further said.
The CA also ruled that the February 12, 2020 order of the ARTA which deemed automatically approved Newsnet’s application was “already final and executory.”
“Judgments, once final and executory, are incontestable and unappealable,” the CA order said.
“As the ARTA order is already final and executory, Newsnet acquired vested rights thereto and its therefore the ministerial duty of the NTC to comply with the aforesaid directive in accordance of the Ease of Doing Business Act,” it added.