Makabayan sounds alarm on Calida's quo warranto argument

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 12 2020 09:09 PM

ABS-CBN Broadcasting Center, Sgt. Esguerra, Diliman, Quezon City, Feb. 11, 2020. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Makabayan bloc fears that the quo warranto filed seeking to void ABS-CBN's broadcast franchise will be used to guarantee only favorable news coverage for the administration and its candidate in the 2022 elections.

Bayan Muna chairman and former party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares pointed to a provision in the quo warranto petition that would empower the government to impose its values and goals on franchise holders. 

"Ang ABS-CBN daw shapes public discourse and only those na tingin ng gobyerno worthy of a franchise should be given. Problem is, ano ang worthy para kay President Duterte? It must be a media outfit that sings all praises to the President," he said.

(ABS-CBN, it says, shapes public discourse and the government believes only those worthy of a franchise should be given. The problem is, what's worthy for President Duterte? It must be a media outfit that sings all praises to the President.)

The move to shut down the country's biggest media network, Colmenares said, is an attack against press freedom.

“Kung ang ABS-CBN pala eh araw araw na lang, all praises kay President Duterte—'okay yung pederalismo, ikakampanya namin yan'—kakasuhan ba sila ni SolGen Calida? Hindi. On all fronts, legally wrong, unacceptable itong petisyon na ito,” he added. 

(If ABS-CBN were all praises for President Duterte, like it campaigns in favor of federalism, would SolGen Calida have filed a quo warranto case? On all fronts, this is legally wrong, this petition is unacceptable.) 

Colmenares explained that this may even be used to guarantee favorable coverage for the administration candidate in 2022. 

“Kung sa lahat ng media outfit, only candidates ng administrasyon carry the values and goals of the administration—na okay okay sa China, okay okay sa EJK [extra-judicial killing], na okay okay sa lahat ng sinasabi ni Presidente Duterte...eh hindi naman tama yun.

(If for all media outfits, only candidates of the administration carry the values and goals of the administration, those who are pro-China, pro-extra-judicial killing, in favor of all the things that President Duterte says, well, that's not right.) 

“Watch out ngayon lahat ng media. You should have the values and goals of government in your reporting. Ang prublema mo diyan, ang values and goals ng gubyernong ito ay anti-people; it's not just anti-people, it's anti-Filipino, it's pro-China, pro-Russia, so it's really...may chilling effect sa lahat ng media outfits." 

(All of you in media should now watch out. You should have the values and goals of government in your reporting. The problem there is, the values and goals of this administration are anti-people; it's not just anti-people, it's anti-Filipino, it's pro-China, pro-Russia, so it's really, there's really a chilling effect on all media outfits.) 

For ACT-Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro, ABS-CBN's present dilemma could be used as a warning to other broadcast operators.

"Ipalabas niyo lang 'yong okay sa akin, positive sa aking administration," she said.

(You should only broadcast what's favorable to me and my administration.)

Both Colmenares and Castro also slammed Solicitor General Jose Calida for filing such a petition before the Supreme Court.

"The Supreme Court is not a trier of facts... Bakit di niya antayin ang Kongreso?" Colmenares said.

(The Supreme Court is not a trier of facts. Why can't he wait for the decision of Congress on the franchise?)

He believes Calida was trying to score points with Duterte.

"Ang konklusyon ko diyan, nagpapasikat si SolGen Calida kay President Duterte. Ginawa niya na 'yan dati," Colmenares.

(My conclusion is that Calida was posturing to President Duterte. He already did this before.)

Calida also filed a quo warranto petition against former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, which led to her removal from the high court.