The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) today told media giant ABS-CBN Corporation to cease its broadcast operations because its license has already expired.
In a press statement, the NTC said ABS-CBN has to stop operating its television and radio stations “absent a valid Congressional Franchise as required by law.”
“ABS-CBN was also given ten days from receipt of the Order to respond as to why the frequencies assigned to it should not be recalled,” the NTC added.
ABS-CBN’s 25-year franchise expired yesterday. Its renewal has been the subject of much controversy after President Rodrigo Duterte said he would personally block it, alleging that the media company failed to air his campaign ads during the run-up to the 2016 elections. ABS-CBN had insisted, however, that the ads were broadcast nationally, but did not appear in its local stations because they were submitted late. Nonetheless, it apologized to Duterte, and the president had accepted it.
Despite the warming of the relationship between ABS-CBN and the government, Solicitor General Jose Calida has warned the NTC that it would face graft charges should it grant a provisional license to the media company. In a statement, Calida said that “there is no such law giving the NTC or any other agency the power to grant franchises to broadcasting entities.”
At present, several bills seeking the renewal of ABS-CBN’s license has been filed at the House of Representatives.