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Court says suit vs ABS-CBN moot

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PHILSTAR/MICHAEL VARCAS

THE Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a lawsuit filed by the Office of the Solicitor General seeking to void the franchise of broadcast giant ABS-CBN Corp. for being moot.

The tribunal junked the suit against the network, which is critical of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, during a full court meeting, court spokesman Brain Keith F. Hosaka told reporters in a Viber message.

The case against the network’s unit, ABS-CBN Convergence, Inc. remained pending, he said.

Solicitor General Jose Calida filed the quo warranto petition in February against ABS-CBN and its unit, the same lawsuit that ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, who was also critical of the government.

Mr. Calida accused ABS-CBN of allowing foreign investors to take part in its ownership when it issued Philippine depositary receipts to foreigners.

The unit allegedly committed an “ingenious corporate layering scheme” to transfer its franchise without congressional approval.

ABS-CBN went off air on May 5 after the National Telecommunication Commission issued a cease and desist order after its legislative franchise expired on May 4. Its renewal application was still pending in Congress.

The network has asked the high court to nullify the regulatory order and allow it to reopen.

The court would tackle the petition on July 13, Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta said at an online briefing on June 11. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas





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