CA urged: Reverse ruling vs NTC

The Office of the Solicitor General on Wednesday said that it is urging the Court of Appeals to set aside writ of mandamus it issued last month directing the National Telecommunications Commission to immediately comply with the order issued by the Anti-Red Tape Authority for the automatic approval of the application of News and Entertainment Network Corp. to operate and maintain interactive pay TV and multimedia services in the country.

In an 86-page motion for reconsideration, the OSG said that the NTC is arguing that the CA should have dismissed the petition for mandamus filed by Newsnet for being moot and for lack of merit.

The OSG stressed that the said DoJ order has become “immutable and may no longer be disturbed.”

“Now even assuming that the DoJ Resolution may not affect the rights of petitioner for not being a party to the proceeding for adjudication filed before the DoJ, as found by the Honorable Court, still, it is humbly submitted, however, that the Honorable Court cannot close its eyes to the fact that said DoJ resolution, after it had attained finality, binds the ARTA,” it added.

The OSG maintained that ARTA’s 17 June 2022 resolution should be considered a “supervening event” that would warrant the reversal of the CA’s decision.

It further emphasized that Newsnet’s legislative franchise, RA 8197 expired on 9 August 2021.

“Its failure to renew the franchise renders all its secondary authorities, permits and licenses arising from it revoked,” the OSG said.

To recall, NTC commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba stressed that there was no more ARTA order to implement since it has already reversed its 12 February 2020 ruling through an order issued last June 2022.

Newsnet sought the issuance of a writ of mandamus against the NTC by virtue of ARTA’s 12 February 2020 “Declaration of Completeness and Order of Automatic Approval in favor of Newsnet.”

However, ARTA reversed its 12 February 20220 in compliance with the 9 July 2021 resolution issued by the Department of Justice which held that ARTA does not have the authority to issue the declaration of completeness and compel NTC to issue a Certificate of Public Convenience which included the use of frequencies.

The Justice department’s 9 July 2021 resolution has become final and executory as declared by the Office of the President in an order issuing an entry of judgment.

Newsnet’s expiration of its legislative franchise, according to the NTC, legally prevents it from approving Newsnet’s application for a CPC and the use of frequencies.

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