Marcoleta Questions ABS-CBN’s Airing of Shows on Sky Cable Without Franchise
Image source: CNN Philippines
Source: Inquirer.net, June 09, 2020
MANILA, Philippines — Why is ABS-CBN still airing its shows on Sky Cable when the latter also has an expired franchise?
House Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta posed this question on Monday during the joint hearing of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises and the Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability to tackle the bid for a 25-year franchise of media giant ABS-CBN.
“I observed that ABS-CBN has been the subject of a cease and desist order very recently coming from NTC. But apparently, they are still able to air their programs and contents using the Sky Cable Corp.,” Marcoleta said.
“They continue to air their program through the Sky Cable. We are all aware of the fact that the franchise of Sky Cable Corp. which is now owned by ABS-CBN has expired as of March 30, 2020,” the lawmaker added.
Marcoleta then asked the officials of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) if were aware of the said activity, and if so, why it consented in airing the programs.
NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba explained that former President Corazon Aquino issued Executive Order No. 205, which essentially removed the requirement for a franchise for cable television operators.
Section 1 of the order states that “Cable Antenna Television (CATV) system in the Philippines shall be open to all citizens of the Philippines, or to corporations, cooperatives or associations wholly-owned and managed by such citizens under a Certificate of Authority granted by the NTC.”
“Actually, other cable TV operators, when they apply with us, do not submit a franchise. And they don’t get a franchise from the legislative branch of government,” Cordoba said, speaking partly in Filipino.
“What they do is they incorporate through the SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] and then they submit an application to the NTC,” he added.
But Marcoleta argued that the 1987 Constitution was ratified on Feb. 2, 1987 and the order released by Aquino was dated June 30, 1987.
“Meaning to say, the President of the Philippines lost already lawmaking power,” Marcoleta said.
“As a matter of fact, Mr. Cordoba, I’d like to remind you that under Article XVIII, this is the transitory provision of the Constitution, which says: ‘All existing laws, decrees, executive orders, letters of instruction not inconsistent with this Constitution shall remain operative’ if they are not inconsistent,” he added.
Further, Marcoleta said the Central TV, now known as Sky Cable, applied for a franchise before the Congress instead of availing of a certificate of authority to operate from the NTC.
“That means the authority they used was the franchise that they got from Congress, which expired last March 30, 2020,” Marcoleta said in Filipino. “If you know it’s already expired, why should we allow it to air content and programs using a facility whose franchise expired last March 30, 2020?”