VERA FILES FACT CHECK: SC DID NOT ‘unanimously agree’ to shut down ABS-CBN

A May 19 report by website Online Balita ( erroneously claimed that the Supreme Court (SC), voting unanimously, “agreed” to shut down media conglomerate ABS-CBN.

This is not true. What the high court did last Tuesday -- the same day the false report was published -- was to defer action on ABS-CBN’s request for a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the National Telecommunications Commission’s (NTC) cease and desist order.

The SC also gave the NTC and Congress 10 days to comment on the network’s petition.

The NTC’s cease and desist order came May 5, a day after ABS-CBN’s 25-year legislative franchise expired, effectively putting off the air its 42 television stations, 23 radio stations and 10 digital channels. On May 7, the network filed a petition asking the SC to declare NTC’s order “null and void,” and requested a TRO that would temporarily allow it to operate while its petition is being heard.

Online Balita’s inaccurate report, which bore the title, “JUST IN! SUPREME COURT PAYAG SA PAG SHUTDOWN NG ABS CBN DAHIL MARAMING VIOLATIONS (Supreme Court agrees to ABS-CBN shutdown because it has many violations),” carried a May 19 Youtube clip by channel BALITANG BALITA TV, which spliced together two Facebook (FB) Live videos of controversial lawyer Larry Gadon wrongly claiming that the high court “denied” ABS-CBN’s petition, including its request for a TRO. (See: VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Gadon falsely claims SC denied ABS-CBN petition for TRO)

BALITANG BALITA TV also featured a spurious “breaking news” graphic throughout the length of its video that read, “Supreme Court approves the closure of ABS-CBN.”

Gadon, known for his firm pro-Duterte administration stance, has a history of purveying false and misleading information.

Social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle shows Online Balita’s false report already got over 8,700 interactions from public and private FB accounts. It could have reached about 3.6 million social media users, with traffic coming largely from public FB groups Dugong Bayani Pinoy ako DU30 Online Warriors, BONGBONG MARCOS PILIPINAS SOLID GROUP""FOR PRESIDENT MOVEMENT 2022, and ATTY. PERSIDA ACOSTA - PAO CHIEF FOR SENATOR MOVEMENT - SUPPORTERS GROUP!

Online Balita has been publishing stories since December 2017, BALITANG BALITA TV since July 2013.

(Editor's Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)


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The misleading video muddled a statement from Solicitor General Jose Calida.

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This is factually incorrect. No such petition exists in the SC.

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It twists a statement made by ABS-CBN.

About Vera Files

Founded in March 2008, VERA Files is published by veteran Filipino journalists taking a deeper look into current Philippine issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”

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