The National Telecommunications Commission said Wednesday it will seek relief from the Supreme Court after the Court of Appeals insisted on the enforcement of an allegedly inoperative ruling by the Anti-Red Tape Authority on News and Entertainment Network Corp.’s permit to operate pay TV service.
“The Court of Appeals decision is not final, and the NTC will elevate this case to the SC,” the NTC said in a statement following reports that its motion for reconsideration was denied by the CA’s Former Eighth Division in a resolution promulgated on March 28.
The NTC, which had yet to receive a copy of the latest CA resolution, maintained that the mandamus could no longer be enforced after ARTA eventually reversed its Feb. 12, 2022 decision directing the commission to automatically approve Newsnet’s application to install, operate and maintain a local multi-point distribution system.
Such LMDS will enable Newsnet to deliver interactive pay television and multimedia services nationwide in the 25.35GHz-26.35GHz frequency range.
ARTA, in a resolution dated June 17, 2022 recalled its previous decision favoring Newsnet, a move that was eventually upheld by the Office of the President.
“The [ARTA] has already reversed itself, so there is no ARTA decision that can be subject of mandamus,” the NTC said.
“On 31 March 2023, the Office of the President affirmed ARTA’s action, saying that ‘Thus, ARTA’s vacating of its orders were in the nature of executing of or complying with the DOJ [Department of Justice] ruling that it did not possess the power to issue its 12 February 2020. For having been issued in excess of its powers, the 12 February 2020 order never became final and were properly vacated,” the NTC said.
The OP dismissed Newsnet’s appeal to reverse ARTA’s order nullifying its earlier ruling on the “automatic approval” of Newsnet’s application.
The OP held that ARTA had no jurisdiction over the assignment of frequencies, the recall of ARTA’s Feb. 12, 2020 order was only proper having been rendered without jurisdiction and the expiration of Newsnet’s franchise rendered its application moot.
The NTC also insisted that Newsnet could no longer be allowed to operate and be assigned a radio frequency after its legislative franchise expired in August 2021.
“The Supreme Court, in a long line of decisions, which includes Divinagracia v. Consolidated Broadcasting System & People’s Broadcasting Service, Inc. and Associated Communications and Wireless Services United Broadcasting Networks v. NTC, has put to rest the ‘no franchise, no operations’ doctrine for broadcast companies which include [Newsnet] which will use radio frequencies in its [LMDS] operations,” the NTC said.
“The latest SC decision in point is ABS-CBN Corporation v. National Telecommunications Commission,” it said.
The regulatory body, in a decision dated May 18, 2022 in NTC Case 2021-175, made permanent the cease and desist order against Newsnet.
It recalled all of Newsnet’s frequencies for alleged lack of a valid congressional franchise.
“All provisional authorities/certificate of public convenience of Newsnet pursuant to RA 8197 were likewise revised/cancelled. In addition, Newsnet’s pending applications/petitions were already dismissed/denied,” the NTC said.