The key to ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal | Inquirer Opinion

The key to ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal

/ 05:02 AM May 14, 2020

After the National Telecommunications Commission’s issuance of a “cease and desist order” against ABS-CBN, Sen. Franklin Drilon opined that its only hope for judicial relief is the Supreme Court (“ABS-CBN’s only remedy: TRO from SC—Drilon,”, 5/6/20).

The best remedy would have been for Congress to act more quickly on the network’s application for franchise renewal, which in the previous decades had been granted without much ado. But apparently, Drilon has conceded that Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano takes orders only from President Duterte, who has vowed to stop that application from seeing the light of day.


So, let’s see how that Drilon juggernaut might play out: The Supreme Court is currently dominated by a chief justice and 11 associate justices all handpicked by Mr. Duterte who, despite all implausible denials, is the only reason ABS-CBN is in deep shit right now. That’s a supermajority of 12 Supreme Court justices bearing down on a negligible three justices expected to cut Mr. Duterte’s tyrannical tendencies down to size. Given the evidence that past precedents provide, justices appointed by Mr. Duterte generally vote as one in his favor, as best exemplified by their obsequious consent to his wish for a “hero’s burial” to the only president kicked out by “people power” for all-out corruption — a promise he made to the Marcos family for supposedly helping fund his 2016 election campaign.

The key to ABS-CBN’s survival is obviously neither in Congress nor in the Supreme Court, but in Mr. Duterte’s hand. This brings to mind the mantra: “Four years is too short for a good president, six years too long for a tyrant!” The framers of the Constitution should have picked the first option. It’s now too late for anyone of them to say “mea culpa” and ask Filipinos to show “courage… against a repressive rule.”


Ramon Norman Torrefranca
[email protected]

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TAGS: ABS-CBN franchise, Letter to the Editor, Ramon Norman Torrefranca
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