Court of Appeals: Newsnet permit to operate ‘final and executory’

An affiliate of Now Corp. of businessman Mel Velarde should be allowed to operate interactive pay television and multimedia services, said the Court of Appeals (CA) in a 33-page ruling dated 20 July.

The decision, penned by Associate Justice Perpetua Susana Atal-Paño of the CA’s Special 8th Division, ordered the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to comply with the directive of the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) to approve the News and Entertainment Network Corp.’s (Newsnet) application for the issuance of a Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC).

“Judgments, once final and executory, are incontestable and unappealable,” the CA order said.

“As the ARTA order is already final and executory, Newsnet acquired vested rights thereto, and it is, therefore, the ministerial duty of the NTC to comply with the aforesaid directive per the Ease of Doing Business Act,” it added.

Newsnet holds a congressional franchise and licenses to operate cable TV and other multimedia services.

The CPC would enable the holder to install, operate and maintain a local multipoint distribution system to deliver interactive pay television and multimedia services in South Luzon, North Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao in the 25.35 GHz-26.35 GHz frequency range, with authority to charge rates.

The CA cited the Ease of Doing Business Act, under which ARTA’s jurisdiction applies to all government offices and agencies, including the NTC, that provide services covering business and non-business-related transactions.

“Even assuming that application proceedings before the NTC involve its quasi-judicial function, the Ease of Doing Business Act conferred jurisdiction to the ARTA over government agencies performing quasi-judicial functions,” the court said. “Whether or not the application of Newsnet involves purely administrative or quasi-judicial functions of the NTC, the latter is covered by the Ease of Doing Business Act.”

The Daily Tribune reached out to the NTC for comments and/or clarifications, but it has not responded as of press time.




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