Tell it to SunStar: ‘Baseless’ and damaging

Tell it to SunStar
Tell it to SunStarSunStar file photo

The National Telecommunications Commission’s (NTC) 30-day suspension order on Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) is not just baseless, it is also damaging.

I filed Senate Resolution 895 on Monday, Jan. 8, 2024, expressing my support to SMNI and condemning the NTC for implementing the suspension order without due process.

The baseless issuance of a 30-day suspension order is a transgression of SMNI’s right to due process, which will result in serious and irreparable damage to it and its employees no less.

I am reiterating that SMNI has been instrumental in helping the government’s anti-terrorism campaign through its programs that aim to educate the people, especially the youth, against communist propaganda and recruitment strategies.

The network has received various awards and recognition.

As chairman of the Senate committee on public information and mass media, I noted the NTC’s suspension order came shortly after the House of Representatives summoned its representatives to a hearing over allegations of fake news peddling.

The NTC, in its show-cause and suspension order, failed to indicate the need to suspend the operations of the SMNI, much more express how this is necessary to avoid serious and irreparable damage or inconvenience to the public or to private interests.

Justice Marvic Leonen, in his separate concurring opinion in the case of ABS-CBN against NTC in 2020, acknowledged that “due process is guaranteed by the Constitution and extends to administrative proceedings.”

On the other hand, the Supreme Court ruled in December 2008 (Montoya vs. Varilla) that while procedural rules in administrative proceedings are less stringent, administrative proceedings “are not exempt from basic and fundamental procedural principles such as the right to due process in investigations and hearings.”

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