Kapihan sa Senado forum | Feb. 27, 2020

At the Kapihan sa Senado forum, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
– Passage of the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020
– Senate’s planned petition before the Supreme Court regarding VFA abrogation
– Congress’ possible actions regarding ABS-CBN’s franchise

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On Constitutional Concerns Regarding the Senate Hearing on ABS-CBN’s Franchise


Speaker Cayetano may have a point since the Constitution provides that bills of local application like franchise measures must originate from the House of Representatives.

He is wrong in equating it to the Charter change issue, though, since as practiced and for expediency, we conduct committee hearings on tax and budget measures even before the House transmits its approved version of the bill to the Senate.

What can be considered blatantly violative of the Constitution is if the Senate committee chairperson reports out on the floor for plenary debates the committee report. This is something we have not done and will never do.

Having said that, what I understand to be tackled by the Public Services Committee are not the bills in connection with the ABS-CBN franchise but a filed resolution to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation on the alleged violations of ABS-CBN that is being questioned by the Office of the Solicitor General before the Supreme Court via a quo warranto petition in which I have earlier expressed reservation out of courtesy to a co-equal branch that has already given due course to the said petition.


On the Gag Order Petition on the ABS-CBN Issue


I hope the Supreme Court will not include the Senate or any of its committees in the gag order, if issued as petitioned by the Solicitor General, in deference to the settled jurisprudence that tackled similar issues in the past.

What may be covered, though, are the resource persons who will be invited to shed light on this instant case involving the franchise of ABS-CBN as they are not exempt from the sub judice rule, which covers litigants and witnesses, members of the bar and the public in general.

Thus, they may run the risk of being cited for contempt once they express their opinions that might pose a clear and present danger in the administration of justice by directly influencing the members of the Court in rendering their votes to resolve the pending petition for quo warranto.


#PINGterview: Lifting of Taiwan Travel Ban, Lt Col Espenido Issue, VFA Abrogation

In an interview on DWIZ, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
– lifting of travel ban on Taiwan
– issues involving P/Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido
– possible actions after VFA abrogation
– franchise of ABS-CBN

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Merit, Not Jurisdiction, is Real Issue on Quo Warranto Petition vs ABS-CBN


Let the Supreme Court deal with the Solicitor General’s quo warranto petition. That gives no reason why the House of Representatives should not report out and debate in plenary the application for legislative franchise filed by ABS-CBN and transmit the bill to the Senate for our immediate deliberation.

As I have earlier mentioned, there is no jurisdiction issue here. Rather, it is about merits in the SolGen’s allegations regarding an existing 25-year franchise that is expiring and over which the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction under the 1987 Constitution; and the merits of ABS-CBN’s application for a legislative franchise that Congress has the sole power to grant or deny under the same Constitution.


On the Quo Warranto Petition vs ABS-CBN


It is a matter of different jurisdictions. The quo warranto petition is under the original jurisdiction of the Court. Approval or renewal of legislative franchise is the jurisdiction of both houses of Congress. As such, I see no conflict in jurisdictions.

As in the case of former Chief Justice Sereno, under Art VIII, Sec 5, Paragraph 1 of the 1987 Constitution, the Supreme Court exercises original jurisdiction over a petition for quo warranto, among other petitions filed by the State through the Office of the Solicitor General.

Hence, Solicitor General Jose Calida cannot be prevented from filing the petition in the case of the legislative franchise of ABS-CBN.

Likewise, Congress is not prevented from exercising its powers under the same Constitution to act on the application for renewal or a new franchise which is now pending before the House of Representatives.


#PINGterview: Payo sa Bagong Chief PNP; Kaltas sa 2020 Calamity Fund

In an interview on DWIZ, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
– Priorities of Archie Gamboa as new PNP chief
– P4B cut in 2020 calamity fund going to pork?

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