Duterte’s ‘soft heart’ could save ABS-CBN, says election lawyer
MANILA, Philippines — Amid strong statements of President Rodrigo Duterte against ABS-CBN, an election lawyer still believes that the President’s “soft heart” could save the major television network from not having its franchise renewed by March.
Lawyer Romulo Macalintal said Duterte would consider the thousands of employees of ABS-CBN and their dependents, as well as calls from celebrities for the renewal of the franchise.
“Amid President Duterte’s repeated statement that he will block the renewal of the franchise of ABS-CBN which will expire on March 30, 2020, I honestly believe that his ‘soft heart’ would still prevail and ABS-CBN’s franchise will be renewed without his objection,” Macalintal said in a statement on Sunday.
Duterte has been accusing the television network of not airing his campaign ad that was already paid for during the campaign period in the 2016 presidential polls.
But for Macalintal, the President’s ire might subside as the network helps assist victims of the Taal Volcano’s eruption and in view of its special coverage for the calamity.
“If Duterte could forgive businessman Lucio Tan for allegedly ‘funding destabilization plots’ against him after Tan’s Philippine Air Lines provided free flights to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) from Kuwait to Manila, he might also do the same for ABS-CBN,” he said.
Macalintal also mentioned how Duterte forgave comedian Ramon Bautista, who was declared persona non grata by the Davao City Council in 2014 due to his “hipon” (shrimp) joke, which local officials criticized as an insult to women.
He also recounted how Duterte cried in front of his parents’ graves upon winning the presidency.
For Macalintal, these instances indicate that Duterte has a soft part in his heart and that he “cannot simply set aside the interest and welfare of the thousands of employees and talents who would be affected by any move that would stop the operation of ABS-CBN.”
“I am sure he would sacrifice his own personal interests and reason if only to protect the rights and interests of his fellow men. If ABS CBN violated his rights during the election period, I’m sure, as a former Prosecutor, he knows his legal remedies on this issue,” said the election lawyer.
“Yes, Mr. President, the thousands of employees and talents of ABS-CBN and their dependents long to touch that soft part of your dear heart,” he also said.
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