SMNI Requests NTC Officials to Recuse Themselves from Case

SONSHINE Media Network International
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SONSHINE Media Network International (SMNI) has taken action in response to the National Telecommunications Commission’s (NTC) case against the media company. In a recent motion, SMNI has requested that NTC Commissioner Ella Blanca Lopez and her two deputies recuse themselves from presiding over the case, citing concerns about their impartiality.

Represented by lawyers Rolex Suplico and Mark Tolentino, SMNI has raised questions about the fairness of the commission’s handling of the case. The media company argues that the NTC’s “show-cause order suffers from a fatal flaw” as the NTC is not only the judge but also the complainant and executioner. This conflict of interest raises doubts about whether SMNI can expect a fair outcome from the NTC.

The lawyers representing SMNI have expressed their concerns about the lack of independence and impartiality within the NTC. They assert that the commission’s role as both complainant and judge undermines the principles of justice. They further warn that if the NTC officials continue to hold onto this questionable arrangement, SMNI may consider filing legal cases against them.

In addition to requesting the recusal of the NTC officials, SMNI has also asked for an extension of 15 days, until January 20, to file a responsive pleading. The media company has also taken its case to the Court of Appeals, seeking to prevent the execution of the suspension order received from the NTC on December 21.

SMNI emphasizes that its motion is filed in good faith, with no intention to cause unnecessary delays. The network, founded by Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, asserts that it is seeking justice and fairness in this matter.

The NTC’s actions against SMNI were prompted by a resolution from the House of Representatives, which called for the suspension of the media company’s operations. The House accused SMNI of violating the terms and conditions of its franchise under Republic Act 11422. The resolution alleges that SMNI deliberately disseminated false information and transferred its shares of stock without prior approval from Congress. It also claims that SMNI failed to offer at least 30 percent of its outstanding stock on any securities exchange in the country.

On December 19, the NTC issued a show-cause order, accompanied by a 30-day suspension order against SMNI. The suspension was enforced with the assistance of the police, and the NTC has threatened SMNI with administrative sanctions.

As of now, the NTC has not responded to requests for comment on the SMNI case from The Manila Times.

In conclusion, SMNI has taken legal action to question the impartiality of NTC officials in their handling of the case against the media company. The motion filed by SMNI raises concerns about the NTC’s role as both complainant and judge, highlighting the lack of independence and impartiality within the commission. SMNI has also sought an extension to file a responsive pleading and has appealed to the Court of Appeals to prevent the execution of the suspension order. The resolution from the House of Representatives serves as the basis for the NTC’s actions against SMNI, accusing the media company of various violations. The NTC’s response to the SMNI case is still awaited.

Source: The Manila Times

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