Tell it to SunStar: Call to renew ABS-CBN’s franchise

WE note that the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) has decided to put off filing a quo warranto petition asking the Supreme Court (SC) to revoke the franchise of ABS-CBN.

The reason for this, according to a news report, were the supposed reservations of members of the Cabinet who want the network’s franchise renewal, the subject of pending legislation, resolved in Congress.

We welcome this news with cautious optimism but will remain vigilant against attempts by the OSG to revive its legal assault even as we continue our campaign to thwart Duterte’s continuing threat to shut down ABS-CBN and suppress critical media.

Should government succeed, a vital voice in Philippine media will be lost and thousands of our colleagues lose their jobs.

We are therefore putting our protest against the quo warranto on hold and will instead launch a petition demanding that Congress prove itself an independent and co-equal branch by repudiating Duterte’s vindictive assault on ABS-CBN and passing the bill to renew its franchise.

We call on Congress to do what is right and immediately pass the bill to renew ABS-CBN’s franchise.

The quo warranto petition filed by the OSG before the SC for the revocation of the network’s franchise is proof that this government, in a supremely undemocratic act, is out to silence a media outfit because of the animosity of one man, the president of the Republic.

While we are dismayed at Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano’s brazen conflict of interest when he admitted having a personal beef with the network whose franchise the chamber he heads is supposed to deliberate on, we continue to hope that you, the elected representatives of the people, can rise above your leader’s petty vindictiveness and strike a blow in defense of freedom of the press and of expression.

At the very least, if the President is really hellbent on shutting down ABS-CBN, let him bear full responsibility by passing the bill renewing the network’s franchise and let him veto it if he dares to. Do not be accomplices in the rape of democracy.