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Court issues TRO against City Hall closure of eMEDIA

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Westwind Broadcasting Company can continue to broadcast eMEDIA programs after the Regional Trial Court (RTC) issued a 20-day temporary restraining order (TRO) to the City Government of Zamboanga, preventing the local government from closing eMEDIA Production.

In an interview with Atty. Raphael James F. Dizon, legal counsel of eMEDIA, he said that on November 8, 2017, a Special Civil Action No. 921 was filed against the defendants, Office of the City Administrator represented by City Administrator Marie Angelique “Apple” Go and Office of the City Mayor represented by Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar, for Injunction with Application for Writ of Preliminary Injunction and/or Temporary Restraining Order.

Atty. Dizon added that as a result of the complaint filed by the plaintiff, eMEDIA Productions represented by its president, Mr. Rey Bayoging,a summary hearing was conducted on November 9, 2017. City Legal Officer, Atty. Jesus Carbon represented Go and Climaco-Salazar in the said hearing.

The neophyte lawyer who passed the bar exams just last year said that after presenting the facts in the verified complaints and all other documentary attachments, the court issued an order last November 10, 2017.

Based on the order issued by Judge Vera Vergara, Presiding Judge of Branch 14, 9th Judicial Region, Regional Trial Court, it states that, “Wherefore foregoing premises considered, a Temporary Restraining Order is hereby issued, effective for a period of 20 days from service of the Order on the defendants, enjoining defendants and any person acting under her, to desist from enforcing its CLOSURE ORDER dated October 9, 2017, including its order to Mindanao Cable Television and Sky Cable to cease and desist from restraining Westwind’s signal which broadcasts Emedia’s programs.”

Recall, that after four years in operation, City Administrator Apple Go has recently been pushing for the closure of eMEDIA saying that the company cannot broadcast its programs without a Congressional Franchise.

There were even reports that the City Administrator of Zamboanga went as far as Zamboanga Sibugay where the main office of Westwind Broadcasting company is located, and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) main office in Manila in her efforts to put off the air the programs of eMEDIA.

Just recently, the move to close the station known to be straightforward in delivering the news and exposing questionable activities and transactions of the local government, reached the City Council of Zamboanga which is dominated by members and allies of the local Liberal Party (LP) led by Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar. The majority councilors passed a resolution supporting the move of City Hall to close eMEDIA.

During the session of the City Council last week, Majority Floor Leader, Councilor Cesar “Sang” Jimenez, also a member of the local Liberal Party, tried but failed to prevent staff of eMEDIA from covering the session.Members of the minority threatened to walk out if eMEDIAstaff was kicked out of the session hall.

Members of the minority in the city council said that the attack against eMEDIA is already unreasonable and that no member of the city council can prevent anybody from covering the session because the City Council is a public place.

eMEDIA president, Rey Bayogingsaid that eMEDIA does not need a congressional franchise because it is not a broadcasting company. He explained that eMEDIA is merely producing programs for the Westwind Broadcasting company to broadcast, and that the city government has issued a business permit to eMEDIA for that purpose.

“Westwind has a congressional franchise and that company is the one broadcasting the programs produced by eMEDIA.” Bayoging said.

He added, “For four years, the city government has recognized us and even allowed us to participate and win in biddings of the city government. Now all of a sudden they want eMEDIA to get a Congressional Franchisie, or for Westwind to get a business permit here in Zamboanga City.”

“Since it is very difficult to get a congressional franchise, Westwind is now processing its business permit here. We are just asking for a little more time to complete the process. But the government is atatnaatat to close Emedia. They already recognized us for the past four years, now they want us to comply with more requirements, just give us time, we are already complying naman.”Bayoging said.

The Regional Trial Courtordered the city government to appear before the court on November 16, 2017 and “to show cause why the Writ of Preliminary Injunction prayed for (by Emedia) should not be issued.”




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