'Restore democracy': Solons told as PH commemorates EDSA Revolution

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 24 2020 09:37 AM | Updated as of Feb 24 2020 09:52 AM

Employees and supporters of ABS-CBN Corp. gather in front of the network's headquarters in Quezon City on February 21, 2020 to show support and call on congress to renew the broadcaster's franchise. Jire Carreon, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - A lawmaker on Monday urged his colleagues at the House of Representatives to "restore democracy" as the country commemorates the EDSA I Revolution and the Senate is set to hear issues on ABS-CBN Corp's franchise.

Buhay Partylist Rep. Lito Atienza said the House's inaction on the network's franchise puts it in a "very embarrassing position."

"It’s EDSA tomorrow, let’s restore Congress, let’s restore democracy," he told ANC's Early Edition.

"We had to struggle for 14 long years of Martial Law to restore democracy in the land, for Congress to function. Now that democracy is in place, ayaw naman magtrabaho ng mga nahalal (Those elected won't even do their jobs)."
 
Millions of Filipinos trooped to EDSA during the four-day uprising from Feb. 22 to 25, 1986 that led to the ouster of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Atienza said the renewal of ABS-CBN Corp's franchise, set to end on March 30, was an "urgent matter of national interest, where 11,000 are dependent and millions of Filipinos are also affected."

"We should be hearing the complaints, looking into the allegations, not the Supreme Court, Senate, it should be the lower House," he said.

"It puts me in a very confused situation. Ano ba talaga gusto mangyari ni Speaker (Alan Peter) Cayetano, ang Kongreso maging irrelevant?" 

(What does he want? For Congress to be irrelevant?)

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Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman, meantime, urged the public to "resist all attempts to suppress the freedoms of the press, expression, and dissent."

Lagman noted this would be the second time ABS-CBN will be forced to stop operations since Marcos' martial rule.

"EDSA’s legacy must not be sacrificed to personal grievances and partisan intolerance," he said.

"The ennobling spirit of EDSA and the horrific specter of the martial law regime must galvanize all sectors to protect and uphold the freedom of expression, the right to dissent, press freedom, and people’s free access to information through media."