ABS-CBN is not worth being made into an election issue because Filipinos couldn’t care less about it

Talk about much entitlement! All these actions just for ABS-CBN to be granted a new franchise? It should be an election issue? Former Inquirer editor John Nery is surely earning his keep as a mouthpiece of the Lopezes. In his piece “ABS-CBN is a campaign issue”, Nery continues to harp about how the ABS-CBN’s franchise to broadcast was supposedly the result of “a political decision” and, therefore, “should have political consequences”. Nery is evidently fuming and is out for political blood…

But taking offense is not enough; the pushback against the 70 perpetrators of what I and others have called “legislative murder” should not be left to chance. There is an ongoing signature campaign to justify a people’s initiative to enact a law granting the ABS-CBN network a new franchise; there are some two million Bayan patrollers—the citizen journalists trained by the network over the years; there are many millions of new subscribers to the different ABS-CBN channels online. These and other supporters of the network can be harnessed to make the politicians who voted unfairly on the franchise issue face political consequences.

Then again, we are in the midst of a pandemic and one must do what one has in order to survive. Let’s take a look at it from the opposite point of view. Can we honestly believe that majority of our lawmakers would have necessarily followed President Rodrigo Duterte’s instructions to Congressmen and Senators not to give ABS-CBN a new franchise? ABS-CBN had the widest reach among all networks in the country. Would these politicians have been willing to shut down a platform which is beneficial to them? Let’s assume that their pork barrel allocations were held like the Sword of Damocles above their collective heads, wouldn’t it be in their nature to make this public since it would tilt public opinion in ABS-CBN’s and their favor? Why is it they remained silent? Were there massive amounts of pork barrel allocations dangled to these lawmakers in the same manner former President Noynoy Aquino (PNoy) bribed Senators during the impeachment trial of then Chief Justice Renato Corona in 2012 to get the verdict he wanted? At that time, Mar Roxas served as the counduit between the President and the Senators.

Why should ABS-CBN be an election issue? News dissemination hasn’t been affected. ABS-CBN continues to operate on digital platforms although its revenues have been reduced drastically. This is a natural consequence of the politicking they indulged in at their peak. What actually did them in was their hubris. It wasn’t Duterte on his own. Nery is disrespectful of the Filipino voter if he believes that they are this stupid to fall for his asinine suggestion. PNoy did more to not have ABS-CBN’s franchise renewed during his administration than Duterte ever did during his incumbency. Despite an all-out media campaign at the height of the hearings in Congress, ABS-CBN did not get the support it needed from the public. There were no massive protests. Even the Left couldn’t muster the numbers. This, despite Angel Locsin being front and center, at the rallies held for the network.

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Nery should really have his head examined. There are far more pressing issues the electorate need to be concerned with than ABS-CBN. Perhaps a survey should be undertaken by ABS-CBN itself if it hasn’t done so yet. How many Filipinos are in favor of a new franchise for the network in the service of dumbing down the Filipino?

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About Ramon Ortoll

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