SC cannot be stopped in case vs TV network
MANILA -- Two senators said Congress cannot stop the Supreme Court from hearing the quo warranto petition filed by the Office of the Solicitor General against ABSCBN Corporation, even if Congress has the mandate to grant or renew legislative franchises.
In a statement, Senator Panfilo Lacson said the two issues “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,” he said. “As such, I see no conflict in jurisdictions.”
The veteran lawmaker cited the case of former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, whom the SC removed from office in 2018 through a quo warranto plea filed by the OSG over her alleged failure to fully disclose her wealth when she applied for the Supreme Court’s top post in 2012.
Sereno was ousted from office despite an ongoing impeachment case against her in Congress.
Lacson explained that
under Art VIII, Sec 5, Paragraph 1 of the 1987 Constitution, the Supreme Court exercises original jurisdiction over a petition for quo warranto filed by the state through the Office of the Solicitor General.
Under the said provision, Lacson said Solicitor General Jose Calida cannot be prevented from filing the petition against the broadcast network, but “Congress is likewise 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.” ‘Separate powers’ Senator Grace Poe expressed a similar sentiment, saying that the judiciary and Congress have separate powers.
“Lest we preempt the court from deciding the case on its own merit, these issues are questions of facts which must be resolved by the court,” she said in a separate statement. “I trust that the court will decide on the basis of fairness and for the interest of the greatest number of people”.
But the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public Services also pointed out that as the Constitution mandates “the Senate’s jurisdiction over franchises remains despite the existence of the petition.”
Thus, Poe said she intends to tackle the issues concerning ABS-CBN’s franchise “in a fair and a deliberative manner.”
Poe admitted, however, that her panel could not deliberate on the franchise until the House of Representatives finishes its own deliberations.