A senior lawmaker on Friday urged Solicitor General Jose Calida to file any complaint he has against broadcasting giant ABS-CBN with the House of Representatives.
Rep. Rufus Rodriguez of Cagayan de Oro said if Calida filed a quo warranto
case against the network with the Supreme Court, it would “be seen as the government’s harassment of ABS-CBN and certainly a clear assault on press freedom as enshrined in our Constitution.”
"This will likewise encroach on the powers of the legislative branch and will violate the constitutional doctrine of the separation of powers among the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government," Rodriguez said.
Under the Constitution, he said, the grant of franchises to broadcasting entities was lodged exclusively in the House and the Senate.
"The solicitor general cannot frustrate and remove such power by filing a quo warranto
case. Furthermore, bills, including Bill 5705, have been filed in the House extending the ABS-CBN franchise. Let Congress do its job by hearings these bills," Rodriguez said.
He said if Calida pushed through with his plan, he would be “disrespecting and denying due courtesy to Congress.”
Moreover, Rodriguez said, under Section 9, Rule 66 of the Rules of Court, a respondent in quo warranto
proceedings “will be ousted and/or excluded from holding or exercising a franchise if he is usurping, intruding into or unlawfully holding/exercising a franchise..”
"ABS-CBN is a holder of a valid franchise," he said.
According to news reports, the solicitor general would file a complaint with the high court against ABS-CBN for its alleged violations of its broadcasting franchise, which expires in about two months on March 20.