ARTA denies with finality Newsnet’s appeal

The Anti-Red Tape Authority has denied with finality the motion for reconsideration filed by businessman Mel Velarde’s News and Entertainment Network Corp. (Newsnet), seeking the reversal of the company’s 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 Department of Justice ruling dated July 9, 2021 “which has already become final and executory.”

“Having already endorsed to National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) the subject application following the said DOJ 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,” ARTA said.

NTC opposed Newsnet’s motion for reconsideration, stating that the firm’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 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 was 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 said as it opposed Newsnet. (PNA).

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