Calida reprises Marcos-era repression in filing quo warranto plea vs ABS-CBN – lawyers’ group
MANILA, Philippines – The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) on Monday condemned Solicitor General Jose Calida for asking the Supreme Court to forfeit ABS-CBN’s broadcasting franchise and for confronting one of the broadcast network’s reporters.
“Calida’s actions – without doubt condoned if not encouraged and goaded by President Duterte’s persistent threats against the media outfit – reveal an attempt at censorship and prior restraint, masked as a perfectly legal action to ‘put an end… to highly abusive practices,'” said NUPL in a statement.
On Monday, after filing a quo warranto petition before the Supreme Court to forfeit the franchise of ABS-CBN, Calida chided reporter Mike Navallo for supposedly always criticizing him.
Navallo, who is also a lawyer, responded that he was doing his job by pursuing a story. Calida then told him to practice law instead and face him in court.
“His feudal treatment of a fellow lawyer based on his self-professed superiority does not speak well neither of the office he represents nor of the profession,” said NUPL.
“This is reminiscent of Ferdinand Marcos’s martial law years, which began with the suppression of private media,” the group added. “Independent journalists and media workers had been similarly threatened and silenced with false charges.”
According to the solicitor general, who has expressed support for the Marcoses in the past, he filed the petition in order to stop the supposed “abusive practices” of ABS-CBN and to reveal the media outfit’s “elaborately crafted corporate veil” where foreign investors take part in the ownership of the network.
“Calida’s showcase of power exposes this government’s utter disrespect of the people’s right to a free and independent press, and its unqualified intolerance to dissent, disapproval of any diversion from the official line, and aversion to critical yet constructive views, opinions and ideas,” said NUPL.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.