Dispatch from Crame No. 791: Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s comments on NTC’s cease and desist order vs. ABS-CBN


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Ang administrasyong Duterte lamang ang magpapasara ng isang kumpanyang malaking katuwang natin sa gitna ng isang malubhang pandemic at magtatanggal ng libu-libong trabaho. Paulit-ulit din na sinasabi ni Duterte na wala na tayong pera pero pinasara nila ang isa sa pinakamalaking taxpayer sa ating bayan. Samantala, muli nilang binuksan ang mga POGO na hindi nagbibigay ng trabaho sa mga Filipino at hindi nagbabayad ng buwis.

Hindi na nga nagawa ng gobyernong Duterte na mag mass testing, naisipan pa nilang mag mass firing. Kung kailan pa napakarami ng nawawalan ng trabaho at nagugutom, naisipan pa ng gobyerno na dagdagan pa sila.

Make no mistake about it. This shutdown of ABS-CBN is by the hands of Mr. Duterte and his accomplices in the House of Representatives. Malacañang is making it appear that all is well between Mr. Duterte and ABS-CBN after he supposedly accepted their apology. But his attempts to wash his hands off this issue is betrayed by the fact that his minions in Congress refuse to hear the bills on the franchise extension. It does not escape our notice how other franchises were renewed with almost perfunctory action from Congress while that of ABS-CBN is consciously passed over.

Nakakatawang pakinggan ang mga kongresista na kunwari ay nagagalit sa National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) dahil sa cease and desist order nila, pero sila mismo ang dahilan kaya tayo nakarating dito. They passed the blame to NTC when they could have worked on the franchise renewal as early as the previous Congress.

Let us all beware of false heroes: those who act as if they are sympathetic or they are here to save the day in spite of the fact that they and their allies caused the problem in the first place.

NTC did not do our country any favor by toying with the livelihood of thousands of ABS-CBN employees in the midst of the worst economic recession in recent history. They could have tempered the destructive power of the law after the DOJ, Senate and the House of Representatives expressed their view that there is sufficient basis for the issuance of a provisional authority. They should have opted to err in the side of helping our countrymen rather than hastily ending the operations of a company that many employees depend on.

However, all is not lost for ABS-CBN. There are available legal remedies. Another test for our courts. Will they be as pliant (again) as Congress?

The political persecution committed and being committed against me is a suffering that I do not wish on anyone else. It breaks my heart to see that the very same tyranny that caused the gross injustice against me finds another victim and further erodes the democracy that we have worked so hard to build. The ABS-CBN forced shutdown is another abominable illustration of the weaponization of the rule of law to serve personal ends of vendetta and power-tripping.

Wala po akong pagdududa sa aking puso na muling makakabangon ang ABS-CBN mula sa pang-aaping nararanasan nila ngayon. Sila po ang kakampi natin hindi lang laban sa COVID-19, kundi sa hindi na mabilang na mga trahedyang nangyari sa ating bansa. At makakasama pa rin natin ang ABS-CBN sa ating pag-ahon at pagtatagumpay bilang isang bayan.

The overwhelming public clamor for the renewal of the ABS-CBN franchise is a testament to their extraordinary contribution to our country, not only in shaping national conversations, but also in extending help to those in need. I continue to urge my colleagues in the legislature to put their money where their mouth is and make this happen. Tama na po ang salita at magtrabaho na po tayo. Kung talagang sinusuportahan natin ang ABS-CBN, panahon na po para dinggin ng Kongreso ang kanilang franchise renewal.




(Access the handwritten copy of Dispatch from Crame No. 791, here: https://issuu.com/senatorleilam.delima/docs/dispatch_791)

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