VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Gadon falsely claims SC denied ABS-CBN petition for TRO

Read this fact check in Filipino

Lawyer Larry Gadon wrongly claimed the Supreme Court (SC) junked broadcast network ABS-CBN’s petition for a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the cease and desist order of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

STATEMENT

In a nearly five-minute Facebook live video on May 19, Gadon updated viewers about the high court’s latest actions on the network’s plea:

Gusto ko lang kayo i-inform, dahil masaya ako, na ang Supreme Court ay dineny o kaya hindi pinagbigyan ang gustong mangyari ng ABS-CBN sa kanilang petition na finile na...isyuhan ng TRO ang NTC na ipatupad ‘yung kanilang cease and desist order.

(I just want to inform you, because I am happy about this, that the Supreme Court denied or did not yield to the desire of ABS-CBN in the petition it filed for an issuance of a TRO against the NTC’s cease and desist order.)”

Source: Larry Gadon official Facebook page, “Hindi binigyan ng Supreme Court ng TRO ang ABS-CBN…,” May 19, 2020, watch from 0:08 to 0:31

He added that the decision was “unanimous” and that this “meant” the petition was “walang kuwenta (without merit).”

Gadon further said the high court’s decision to “include” the Senate and House of Representatives in the petition will allow those opposing the franchise renewal to be heard, thus preventing Congress from “railroading” the public hearings on the matter.

The lawyer then called on his viewers to warn their representatives against immediately granting ABS-CBN a license to operate “without a hearing,” and that they should oust House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano from his position, otherwise:

“...sa susunod ay hindi na ninyo iboboto ang congressman ninyo ‘pag hindi sila sumunod sa pulso ng bayan (you will no longer vote for your congressman if they don’t listen to the pulse of the people).”

FACT

The SC has not denied ABS-CBN’s petition for a TRO; rather, it unanimously “required” the NTC, as the respondent, to comment on the petition within a prescribed period, the court’s public information office said in a statement on May 19.

The NTC, which regulates the issuance of franchises to broadcast service providers and other telecommunication services, was given a “non-extendable period of 10 calendar days” to file its reply.

The high court also “separately impleaded” the Senate and the House of Representatives in the petition as parties to the case, and required both to file their respective comments within the same period.

While the SC did not issue a TRO, nowhere in the statement did it say that ABS-CBN’s petition was denied. What the court denied was Gadon’s motion to consolidate the network’s plea with his petition against Cayetano and House Committee on Legislative Franchises Chair Franz Alvarez filed in March.

In his petition, Gadon asked the SC to “prohibit” the NTC from complying with Cayetano and Alvarez’ letter urging the agency to grant ABS-CBN provisional authority to operate while Congress has yet to decide on the latter’s franchise renewal.

Reneging on its earlier commitment, the NTC on May 5 issued a cease and desist order against ABS-CBN after the latter’s 25-year franchise expired the previous day, which the network later petitioned before the high court. (VERA FILES FACT SHEET: NTC backpedals on ABS-CBN franchise)

On May 18, the lawyer, who was suspended last year for using “offensive and abusive language,” filed another petition before the SC against ABS-CBN’s TRO plea.

That same day, he sent a letter to the Senate, urging nine of the 24 senators to “inhibit” themselves from deliberating and voting on ABS-CBN franchise renewal bills for alleged “conflict of interest.” The senators later dismissed the request.

A franchise is a “privilege” granted by Congress to broadcast entities to engage in a “certain type of telecommunications service.” (See VERA FILES FACT SHEET: The ABS-CBN franchise conundrum)

On May 19, Cayetano said the House of Representatives will “immediately proceed” to tackle pending bills that seek to renew ABS-CBN’s franchise for another 25 years.

This was after he announced that House Bill 6732 -- which he co-authored -- granting the network a provisional license to operate until Oct. 31 that the House passed on first and second reading in one day on May 13 will be reconsidered for further interpellation.

The passage of the provisional franchise bill raised constitutionality issues, in view of a provision that says:

“No bill passed by either House shall become a law unless it has passed three readings on separate days….”

Source: Official Gazette, 1987 Constitution Sec. 26(2), Art. VI

Gadon’s post has been viewed at least 1.2 million times, garnered about 35,700 shares, and accumulated over 85,000 likes on Facebook alone as of May 22.

Known for moving to impeach then Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno in 2017, Gadon ran and lost in the 2019 Senate race under political party Kilusang Bagong Lipunan, which was founded by late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

This is the third time he has been flagged by VERA Files Fact Check for spreading disinformation. The first two were on claims he made during the 2019 election campaign.


Sources

Larry Gadon official Facebook page, “Hindi binigyan ng Supreme Court ng TRO ang ABS-CBN…,” May 19, 2020

ABS-CBN News, READ: ABS-CBN’s TRO petition vs. the NTC’s broadcast shutdown order, May 21, 2020

Supreme Court official Twitter account, Press Briefer, May 19, 2020

CNN Philippines, Supreme Court asked to block House bid for ABS-CBN provisional permit, March 5, 2020

GMA News Online, Supreme Court asked to stop NTC from granting ABS-CBN provisional permit, March 5, 2020

Inquirer.net, Lawmaker: Gadon’s petition before SC on ABS-CBN, NTC ‘baseless meddling’, March 6, 2020

ABS-CBN News, ABS-CBN goes to Supreme Court for broadcast resumption, May 7, 2020

Supreme Court, Helen Joselina H. Mendoza Vs. Atty. Lorenzo G. Gadon, June 26, 2019

Larry Gadon official Facebook page, “Kaninang umaga ako ay nagpunta sa Senate…,” May 18, 2020

ABS-CBN News, Sotto rejects request for senators to inhibit from ABS-CBN franchise inquiry, May 18, 2020

Inquirer.net, Sotto, Drilon dismiss Gadon request to inhibit from ABS-CBN franchise hearing, May 18, 2020

Manila Bulletin, Senators won’t inhibit themselves from ABS-CBN franchise deliberations, May 18, 2020

Rappler, House drops bill granting interim franchise to ABS-CBN, May 19, 2020

ABS-CBN News, House drops ABS-CBN provisional franchise, to tackle bills for 25-year license, May 19, 2020

Manila Bulletin, House drops move to grant ABS-CBN provisional franchise, May 20, 2020

Congress.gov.ph, House Bill 6732, May 13, 2020

ABS-CBN News, Lawmaker wants to undo 'risky' 2nd reading approval of ABS-CBN franchise, make amendments, May 15, 2020

Manila Bulletin, House reopens deliberations on ABS-CBN provisional franchise bill, May 18, 2020

The Manila Times, ‘Little time left to tackle ABS-CBN bill’, May 16, 2020

Official Gazette, 1987 Constitution

ABS-CBN News, Duterte meets lawyer behind impeachment complaint vs Sereno, April 4, 2018

Rappler, Who is Larry Gadon, the man behind one Sereno impeachment complaint, Oct. 6, 2017

Philstar.com, Gadon denies Duterte’s hand in Sereno impeachment, April 4, 2018


(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)

FOR FURTHER READING

VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Gadon mali sa pagsabing tinanggihan ng SC ang petisyon ng ABS-CBN para sa TRO

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VERA FILES FACT CHECK: MISLEADING post on ABS-CBN ‘provisional franchise’ still viral

The bill was never passed and thus could not be “revoked."

VERA FILES FACT CHECK: NTC backpedals on ABS-CBN franchise

The National Telecommunications Commission did a 180-degree turn when it issued a cease and desist…

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