Franchise grant should not be based on 'personal whims of a madman' - De Lima | Inquirer News

Franchise grant should not be based on ‘personal whims of a madman’ – De Lima

/ 01:02 PM January 03, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The “personal whims of a madman” should not influence Congress’ prerogative of granting a legislative franchise, Senator Leila de Lima said.

In a written dispatch from Camp Crame on Thursday, De Lima said the franchise renewal of broadcast giant, ABS-CBN, would serve as a “litmus test” of Philippine lawmakers’ commitment to free press and democracy.

“The grant of legislative franchise is a prerogative of Congress based on the standard of common good, not on the personal whims of a madman,” she said.


De Lima issued this statement after President Rodrigo Duterte told ABS-CBN to just sell the network, three months before the expiration of its broadcast rights.


It is Congress that is mandated by the Constitution to enact franchise bills pending before it. If the franchise is not granted, the broadcast giant would have to close down its television and radio operations by March 30, 2020.

“ABS-CBN should stand firm against these despotic attacks and remain confident of their crucial role in our democracy,” De Lima went on.

She also called Duterte’s latest remarks “an obscene display of an authoritarian’s propensity to abuse his office for his own twisted ends.”

“The law is clear on this matter. Whatever perceived slight he experienced from ABS-CBN is a matter for the courts to pass upon, not Congress,” the senator said.

Duterte has repeatedly threatened to block the franchise renewal of the television giant after what he claimed was unfair treatment of him during the 2016 presidential campaign.

He had also accused ABS-CBN of estafa for supposedly not providing him the airtime he had paid for during the presidential elections.


The President also slammed the network for airing what he deemed to be unfair or slanted reports about him.

“It is apparent that these attacks against the ABS-CBN is just part of a bigger, systematic effort to subjugate Filipino companies under the political interests operating through Malacañang, both local and foreign,” De Lima went on.

“Just recently, the old tyrant accused the Ayala Corporation and Manny Pangilinan group of ‘syndicated estafa’ and threatened to send their executives to jail,” she added.

De Lime deemed this as “empty accusations bereft of neither evidence nor any legal basis whatsoever has become a trademark of his administration.”

“We have not seen such level of abuse of the powers of the Office of the President since the Marcos administration,” she added.

“The ongoing attacks against Filipino corporations operating public utilities and franchises by the President betray his intention to replace them with his cronies or any of the China-sanctioned entities,” she claimed.

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De Lima then called on government agencies to stand behind the principles of democracy and fight against the wrongful use of the law.

Edited by MUF
TAGS: Congress, News, Rodrigo Duterte

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