Why Comelec Commissioner Guanzon ventures into ABS-CBN issue


    ELECTION Commissioner Rowena Guanzon posted Sunday on Facebook a summary of Solicitor General Jose Calida’s petition for quo warranto against broadcast company ABS-CBN which she said was “prepared by my legal staff under my supervision.”

    It came as no surprise that some people asked what’s the business of a Comelec commissioner commenting on the ABS-CBN case before the Supreme Court.

    Guanzon said: “I’m a teacher by nature and intellect. I was a professor. Anything that impacts on our democracy, that’s freedom of the press, interests me. As a lawyer, former professor and certainly as commissioner of election.

    “The issue is democracy!!!”

    Here’s Guanzon’s summary of GR No.25138, Republic of the Philippines versus ABS-CBN, Petition for Quo Warranto.

    She posted side by side OSG’s allegations with ABS-CBN’ official statement.

    1. OSG: Ground for quo warranto: Gross violation of Franchise
    ABS-CBN: ABS-CBN complies with all the pertinent laws governing its franchise and secured all necessary government and regulatory approval for its business operations.

    2. OSG: ABS-CBN is offering its pay-per-view channel, the KBO, in its ABS-CBN TV Plus, without permit from NTC. It is using its free-to-air frequency granted by the State to profit from the public.

    ABS-CBN: All our broadcast offerings, including KBO, have received the necessary government and regulatory approvals and are not prohibited by ABS-CBN’s franchise.

    3. OSG: ABS-CBN Holdings, which has shares in ABSCBN Corporation, issued PDRs.
    ABS-CBN: PDRs and investments in ABS-CBN Holdings, not ABS-CBN Corporation.

    4. OSG: Its number 1 PDR Holder, PDC Nominee Corp, is non-Filipino.

    ABS-CBN: PDRs were evaluated and approved by the SEC and PSE prior to its public offering. These are the same instruments used by other broadcast companies to raise capital for the improvement of services.

    5. OSG: Through this scheme, ABS-CBN allowed foreigners to influence and participate in the mass media enterprise.

    ABS-CBN: PDR holders are not owners. It is not the same as share of stock, and holders have no voting rights.

    6. OSG: ABS-CBN Corporation acquired MultiMedia Telephony and Amara and used the Legislative Franchises of both without approval of Congress.

    ABS-CBN: The ownership of ABS-CBN in ABS-CBN Convergence was undertaken under the same law and structures that have been utilized by other telecommunication companies.

    7. OSG: Congressional approval is required before Franchise can be transferred.
    ABS-CBN: These are transfers that are approved under the Public Telecommunication Policy Act and are fully compliant with the law.