MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Solicitor General’s (OSG) filing of a quo warranto petition against media giant ABS-CBN before the Supreme Court is an “overkill,” veteran human rights lawyer and former senator Rene Saguisag said Tuesday.
Saguisag said the government’s proper avenue to tackle its issues with ABS-CBN is Congress where public hearings will be done.
Saguisag added that the issue should be “thrown out of the Supreme Court” and let the political branches of the government decide.
“The more opinions we hear, the better. It should be more speech, not less,” Saguisag told reporters during the commemoration of the 34th anniversary of the Edsa People Power Revolution in Makati City.
“To me, the proper venue is Congress where technically the people can be heard through the representatives elected. With all due respect to Supreme Court, they are not elected, so they don’t necessarily take into account kung ano ang pakiramdam o sentimyento ng sambayanang Pilipino (what the sentiments of Filipinos are),” he added.
Solicitor General Jose Calida earlier filed a quo warranto petition and asked the Supreme Court to forfeit the legislative franchise of broadcast network ABS-CBN.
The move, Calida said, seeks to stop the supposed “abusive practices” of the network.
“We want to put an end to what we discovered to be highly abusive practices of ABS-CBN benefitting a greedy few at the expense of millions of its loyal subscribers. These practices have gone unnoticed or were disregarded for years,” Calida said in a statement.
For Saguisag, the filing of the quo warranto petition was the same move that Calida “abused” in the ouster of former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
Asked if he thinks the filing of the quo warranto petition is a concerted effort to shut down ABS-CBN, Saguisag said that the administration seems to be “very impatient” on those who criticize the government.
“Yan ang dahilan kung bakit mag-uumpisa na ang fourth year ni Leila De lima sa pagkakulong dahi she had offended the number one public official of the land and like I said, dapat dyan, mas marami ang pinakikinggan,” Saguisag said.
(That is the reason why Leila De Lima is entering her fourth year in detention because she offended the number one public official of the land and as I said, more people should be heard.)
House Deputy Speaker Johnny Pimentel (Surigao) earlier said the OSG’s move could lead to some lawmakers being afraid to speak up and express their support for the franchise renewal.
“This could also be a clear signal to the congressmen who will be attending the hearings. Nakikita na nila na nag-file na ng case (They are seeing that a case has been filed) so those who would be in favor of the renewal, might change their mind or they could not speak up anymore because we know very well that the Executive department is moving for the cancellation of the franchise,” Pimentel said.
ABS-CBN has also denied the allegations made by the OSG, saying the quo warranto petition filed by the OSG only points to an effort to shut down the network.