Solicitor General Jose Calida said Monday there is no way his office will allow ABS-CBN Corp. to resume operations after it allegedly committed “too many violations” of the Constitution and its previous franchise.
“ABS-CBN has committed too many violations which went unnoticed and unpunished. But we are determined to root out such illegal practices,” Calida told legislators at the resumption of the joint hearing of the House committee on legislative franchises and on Good government and public accountability.
“ABS-CBN is motivated not by service but by greed and a desire for power and influence. Their brazen acts must come to an end. The hour of reckoning may have been delayed, but it has now come.”
But ABS-CBN president Carlo Katigbak said the company had not violated any laws and had remained compliant with the Constitution. He said former chairman and president Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III" is a natural born Filipino citizen by virtue of his being born to Filipino parents, specifically his father, in 1952."
Katigbak also said the Philippine Depository Receipts issued by ABS-CBN Holdings Inc. were cleared and upheld as legal by the Securities and Exchange Commission on Oct. 4, 1999.
He said "the company was never transferred to the Marcos government or any of the dictator’s cronies.
Calida appeared before the joint panel via Zoom to explain his role in the closure of the media giant and why he was absent during the last hearing.
He denied meddling with Congress when he advised the National Telecommunications Commission not to grant ABS-CBN provisional authority that would allow the network to broadcast while the renewal of its legislative franchise remained pending.
NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba again apologized to Congress for the “confusion” caused by the closure order against ABS-CBN even as he maintained that the NTC merely followed the law
Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta earlier rallied his fellow legislators to reject ABS-CBN's bid for a fresh 25-year franchise, citing many "flagrant violations" allegedly committed by the radio-broadcast network.
Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, author of HB 5705 and 6694, touched on the citizenship of Gabby Lopez and the PDRs.
“As former dean of San Sebastian college, these allegations have no basis in law,” Rodriguez said.
Nueva Ecija Rep. Micaela Violago recommended the immediate granting of ABS-CBN’s franchise to allow it "to continue their mandate "in the service of the Filipino.”
Parañaque City Rep Joy Myra Tambunting, author of House Bill 3713, agreed.
“ABS-CBN has taught me the value of hard work. I support the ABS-CBN franchise for the sake of the millions of Filipinos who depend on ABS-CBN as a source of information.”
Laguna Rep. Sol Aragones said “ABS-CBN went above and beyond by helping those in need.”
Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto said: “With the present situation of ABS-CBN, I am sad that 11,000 employees may be displaced. As a part of the entertainment industry, I share the sentiments of the talents of ABS-CBN.”