ARTA denies with finality Newsnet’s plea seeking reinstatement

By Azer Parrocha

August 29, 2022, 4:43 pm

MANILA – The Anti-Red Tape Authority has denied with finality the motion for reconsideration (MR) filed by the News and Entertainment Network Corporation (Newsnet) seeking the reversal of a resolution that cancels its declaration of completeness and order of automatic approval.

In a resolution dated Aug. 22, ARTA said it has considered all the arguments of the parties in the light of the Secretary of Justice (SOJ) Resolution dated July 9, 2021 in OSJ Case No. 01-2020, "which has already become final and executory."

"Having already endorsed to National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) the subject application following the said SOJ Resolution, hence it resolves the matter herein as well with finality and any similar motions or manifestations, in this case, will no longer be entertained,” it said.

"There being no cogent reason to reverse its Resolution dated 17 June 2022, Newsnet's Ex Abundanti Ad Cautelam [out of an abundance of caution] Motion for Reconsideration dated 4 July 22 and the Manifestation and Motion dated 6 August 2022 are hereby denied," the ARTA resolution added.

ARTA said it will also continue to abide by the SOJ Resolution dated July 9, 2021, which has already become final and executory.

On July 4, Newsnet filed an MR seeking the reinstatement of the declaration of completeness and order of automatic approval.

The NTC opposed the motion stating that Newsnet’s legislative franchise to operate a Local Multi-Point Distribution System (LMDS) has already expired.

This disqualifies Newsnet from any frequency assignment or allocation, according to the NTC.

NTC said the finality of judgments cannot apply to ARTA, an investigatory body, without jurisdiction to adjudicate rights and obligations of parties.

After Newsnet’s legislative franchise expired, NTC, on Aug. 12, issued a “cease and desist order” against Newsnet from continuing its operation and other services as authorized under Provisional Authorities granted.

The NTC also ordered the “recall of any and all frequencies that were provisionally assigned to Newsnet.”

Newsnet submitted a Court of Appeals (CA) decision granting its Petition for Mandamus directing the NTC to comply with the ARTA’s Declaration of Completeness and Order of Automatic Approval in favor of Newsnet.

However, the NTC argued that the CA decision is not immediately executory because NTC properly availed of its remedies within the reglementary period.

“On the contrary, ARTA’s 17 June 2022 Resolution in these proceedings warrant the dismissal of the said Petition for Mandamus,” NTC pointed out in opposing Newsnet.

NTC said this rendered “moot” the CA decision as there is no longer a subsisting order to enforce. (PNA)