Senate President Zubiri lauds ARTA’s performance; invokes CA Ruling on ARTA’s Jurisdiction over Quasi-Judicial Bodies

Senate President Miguel Zubiri has lauded the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) in helping the country boost its competitiveness by streamlining government’s processes.

Citing the recent ruling of the Court of Appeals recognizing ARTA’s jurisdiction over all government agencies performing quasi-judicial and legislative function, Zubiri said in the recent Philippine Franchise Association event “this is a victory not only for ARTA but for the law.”

It was reported in July 2022 that the Special Eighth Division of the Court of Appeals resolved the ARTA’s powers over the quasi-judicial functions of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), one agency that refused to recognize ARTA’s jurisdiction.

This concerns the case of News and Entertainment Network Corporation (NEWSNET, an affiliate of PSE-listed NOW Corp) versus the NTC.

The CA division resolved that the automatic approval granting NEWSNET the 26 GHz frequency based on ARTA decision under former ARTA General Jeremiah Belgica’s leadership was unappealable and irreversible. The current ARTA OIC issued a decision reversing Belgica’s ARTA decision.

The said CA decision has profound significance in the delivery of much needed Internet and Pay TV services to the public as NEWSNET intends to expand nation-wide using cutting-edge technologies.

The same CA decision states that regardless of the fact that said frequencies are now considered 5G (fifth generation) by the International Telecommunications Union, Newsnet maintains rights over it.

“And I’m confident that the legal victory such as this, we are setting a good precedent for similar cases in the future. And we are sending strong message to all government agencies to listen to ARTA, follow ARTA’s directives. In this way you, we can effectively serve our people and promote the Ease of Doing Business,” he added.

The Senate President also expressed his recognition of Belgica, who, Senator Zubiri said, “has been under pressure but I salute him for doing his job well.”

The ARTA was under the leadership Belgica from 2018 to 2022 until his 6-month preventive suspension ordered by the Ombudsman in May this year.

The reforms of Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018 intended has shaken up many government agencies that based their actions on discretionary means. The ARTA law forcefully stopped that common practice.

ARTA’s four-year sterling performance under Belgica and recently affirmed by the Court of Appeals in so far as ARTA powers over quasi-judicial bodies, Senate President Zubiri says, “I hope with this ruling, … [we] will all feel empowered to pursue bigger, bolder ventures, trusting that the law and ARTA will have your back,” said the Senate President.

The Special Eleventh Division of the Court of Appeals (CA) on August 16, 2022 resolved to reverse and set aside the termination of provisional authority and the cease and desist order (CDO) issued by NTC against Newsnet.

“The provisional authority of petitioner [Newsnet] to operate and maintain 25.35 to 26.35 GHz spectrum Local MultiPoint Distribution System (LMDS) to deliver interactive pay television and multi-media services in Metro Manila is reinstated and shall continue to be effective unless sooner suspended, cancelled or revoked in accordance with applicable laws, rules and regulations,” the CA decision said.