Former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said that the government’s decision to file a quo warranto against ABS-CBN is a right move as the broadcasting company allegedly violating the constitution.
In a radio interview, Enrile said that ABS-CBN is now facing a problem of being qualified to have a franchise because of allegedly violating the foreign ownership restriction on mass media in the Constitution.
According to him, even one piece of a share bought by a foreigner to a media company is already against the law.
“Ang problema diyan ay yung kwalipikasyon ng ABS-CBN to have a franchise. Dahil sang-ayon sa ating Saligang-batas, ang mga korporasyon na ang kanilang negosyo ay communication o information, media, hindi pwedeng magkaroon ng kahit isang shares of stock ang banyaga. because it must be fully owned by Filipinos,” said Enrile.
He pointed out that ABS-CBN tried to make a way to get funding from foreigners by selling Philippine Deposit Receipts (PDR).
Enrile said that by issuing PDRs to foreigners, ABS-CBN is now giving a share of their income to other nationalities which are not allowed in the constitution.
“May ginawa silang sistema para makakuha ng kapital na banyaga. Yung tinatawag nilang Philippine Deposit Receipts. Ito yung pera ng banyaga na idedeposito-kuno sa ABS-CBN. Bibigyan ng resibo at doon sa deposito na iyon, gagamitin ng ABS yun para pagandahin yung kanilang mga equipment pero makikinabang sila [foreign investor] sa [dividends], sa kinikita. Hindi interest ang kanilang binabayaran dahil hindi loan yun eh. Hindi pautang kungdi investment doon sa kumpanya. At ang batayan ng pakinabang nung nag-invest ay kung ano kikitain nung kumpanya. May participation sila. Eh hindi pwede yun,” he explained.
“Quo warranto proceeding ang dapat ang gamiting nila, yun ay proseso sa rules of court natin. Yung ginagamit na reglamento sa pagsusuri sa husgado to challenge the qualification of a corporation to do that business.” he added.
Enrile also said that if the Supreme Court favored the petition filed by the Office of the Solicitor General, even the Congress cannot save ABS-CBN.
“Kahit na magbigay ng prangkisa ang Kongreso, kapag sinabi ng Korte na hindi qualified ang ABS-CBN dahil sa violation, may foreign ownership, eh balewala yung prangkisa,” he said.
ABS-CBN is facing many issues including their upcoming franchise expiration and also the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida against them.
The Congress said that they’re only going to discuss the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN once that the public are already calm about the issue.
However, some members of the senate are already impatient and now pushing for a hearing to tackle the issues of the television network giant.