Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Radio Communications v NTC G.R. No. L-68729 May 29, 1987

J. Gutierrez Jr.

RCPI operated a radio communications system since 1957 under legislative franchise granted by Republic Act No. 2036 (1957). The petitioner established a radio telegraph service in Sorsogon, Sorsogon (1968). in San Jose, Mindoro (1971), and Catarman, Samar (1983).
Kayumanggi Radio, on the other hand, was given the rights by the NTC to operate radio networks in the same areas.
RCPI filed a complaint in the NTC and sought to prohibit Kayumanggi Radio to operate in the same areas. The NTC ruled against the RTC’s favor and commanded RCPI to desist in the operation of radio telegraphs in the three areas.
RTC filed a MFR in 1984. This was denied.
In the SC, Petitioner alleged that the  Public Service Law had sections that was still in effect even if the Public Service Commission was abolished and the NTC was established.
These were S13- the Commission shall have jurisdiction, supervision, and control over all public services and their franchises
S 14- Radio companies are exempt from the commission’s authority except with respect to the fixing of rates
And S 15-no public service shall operate in the Philippines without possessing a valid and subsisting certificate from the Public Service Commission, known as "certificate of public convenience,"

Issue: Whether or not petitioner RCPI, a grantee of a legislative franchise to operate a radio company, is required to secure a certificate of public convenience and necessity before it can validly operate its radio stations including radio telephone services in the aforementioned areas

Held: Yes. Petition dismissed.

Presidential Decree No. 1- the Public Service Commission was abolished and its functions were transferred to three specialized regulatory boards, as follows: the Board of Transportation, the Board of Communications and the Board of Power and Waterworks. The functions so transferred were still subject to the limitations provided in sections 14 and 15 of the Public Service Law, as amended.
The succeeding Executive Order No. 546- the Board of Communications and the Telecommunications Control Bureau were abolished and their functions were transferred to the National Telecommunications Commission
Section 15- b. Establish, prescribe and regulate areas of operation of particular operators of public service communications; and determine and prescribe charges or rates pertinent to the operation of such public utility facilities and services except in cases where charges or rates are established by international bodies or associations of which the Philippines is a participating member or by bodies recognized by the Philippine Government as the proper arbiter of such charges or rates;
c. Grant permits for the use of radio frequencies for wireless telephone and telegraph systems and radio communication systems including amateur radio stations and radio and television broadcasting systems;
The exemption enjoyed by radio companies from the jurisdiction of the Public Service Commission and the Board of Communications no longer exists because of the changes effected by the Reorganization Law and implementing executive orders.
The petitioner's claim that its franchise cannot be affected by Executive Order No. 546 on the ground that it has long been in operation since 1957 cannot be sustained.
Today, a franchise, being merely a privilege emanating from the sovereign power of the state and owing its existence to a grant, is subject to regulation by the state itself by virtue of its police power through its administrative agencies. Pangasinan transportation Co.- statutes enacted for the regulation of public utilities, being a proper exercise by the State of its police power, are applicable not only to those public utilities coming into existence after its passage, but likewise to those already established and in operation .
Executive Order No. 546, being an implementing measure of P.D. No. I insofar as it amends the Public Service Law (CA No. 146, as amended) is applicable to the petitioner who must be bound by its provisions.
The position of the petitioner that by the mere grant of its franchise under RA No. 2036 it can operate a radio communications system anywhere within the Philippines is erroneous.
Sec. 4(a). This franchise shall not take effect nor shall any powers thereunder be exercised by the grantee until the Secretary of Public works and Communications shall have allotted to the grantee the frequencies and wave lengths to be used, and issued to the grantee a license for such case.
Thus, in the words of R.A. No. 2036 itself, approval of the then Secretary of Public Works and Communications was a precondition before the petitioner could put up radio stations in areas where it desires to operate.
The records of the case do not show any grant of authority from the then Secretary of Public Works and Communications before the petitioner installed the questioned radio telephone services in San Jose, Mindoro in 1971. The same is true as regards the radio telephone services opened in Sorsogon, Sorsogon and Catarman, Samar in 1983. No certificate of public convenience and necessity appears to have been secured by the petitioner from the public respondent when such certificate,was required by the applicable public utility regulations.
The Constitution mandates that a franchise cannot be exclusive in nature nor can a franchise be granted except that it must be subject to amendment, alteration, or even repeal by the legislature when the common good so requires.

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