The ill-fated franchise of ABS-CBN Corporation was dead on arrival at the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).
It was the leadership of the House of Representatives which deprived ABS-CBN of its authority to operate by inordinately stalling the network’s franchise renewal and allowing it to expire.
Even the Supreme Court will have difficulty in finding legal anchorage for issuing a temporary restraining order (TRO) against NTC since the law is clear under R.A. No. 7925 or the “Public Telecommunications Policy Act” that: “No person shall commence or conduct the business of being a public telecommunications entity without first obtaining a franchise.”
What is needed to operate is either an original franchise or a renewed one.
Any alleged issuances by NTC of provisional authority to operate to those with expired franchises cannot be invoked as a precedent in violation of the law.
Only the Congress, more particularly the House of Representatives where private bills like legislative franchises emanate, can resurrect ABS-CBN’s operations by forthwith granting the network a renewed 25-year franchise.
The proverbial key to heaven for ABS-CBN is with Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.
EDCEL C. LAGMAN