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Defensor dares Tañada to public debate on ABS-CBN franchise issue

/ 07:49 PM July 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Anakalusgan Rep. Mike Defensor challenged on Wednesday his former colleague Erin Tañada to a public debate on the franchise issue of ABS-CBN.

In a tweet, Defensor said that Tañada, who was incidentally with him during their student-activist days at the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), has been “openly attacking me on the ABS-CBN issue.”

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“I note that my former colleague and Chairman in the NUSP [Erin Tañada] has been openly attacking me on the ABS-CBN issue. To be fair, since he is not in Congress to debate me in plenary, I invite him to debate publicly, on the issues as regards the franchise,” Defensor said.

Hours later, Tañada responded to Defensor, saying that he “welcomes” the opportunity for a debate.

Tañada, however, questioned the use of such debate, saying that all it would achieve is “free exposure for both of us.”

“Hi [Mike Defensor]. I welcome the opportunity to debate with you! But what will the debate achieve, the possible renewal of the franchise? Will it restore the livelihood of the workers who will lose their jobs? We both know that the answer is No,” Tañada said.

“Both of us will be reiterating the same arguments in the Committee for and against Renewal. I don’t know what the debate will achieve, except free exposure for the both of us,” Tañada added.

In response, Defensor said that he himself would file the motion for reconsideration on the denial of ABS-CBN’s franchise if Tañada’s arguments regarding the issue are “more superior” than his.

“Cong [Erin Tañada], how can you attack someone and not accept his invitation to a public debate in the spirit of fair play and transparency?” Defensor asked

“If your arguments are more superior, I promise to make the motion for reconsideration in Congress. So yes, the debate can help ABS-CBN,” the lawmaker added.

Defensor earlier said that ABS-CBN was not handed the “death penalty”, but rather only “life imprisonment,” when its bid for a 25-year franchise was denied in the House of Representatives, adding that “there is time to reform.”

But in a tweet, Tañada responded to Defensor’s remarks saying: “Eh ikaw kaibigan, may pag-asa ka bang ma-reform? Ano tingin ninyo?”

(How about you, my friend, is there still hope for your reform? What do you think?)

In another instance, Tañada shared the tweet of Defensor’s daughter, Mikee, who expressed her support towards ABS-CBN despite her father’s vote against it.

“Hi [Mikee Defensor]. Your father was my Vice-President at the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP). I congratulate you for your courageous stand. You are the Mike Defensor I knew when we were marching in the streets. I hope you don’t change,” Tañada said. [ac]

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TAGS: ABS-CBN, ABS-CBN franchise, ABS-CBN shutdown, Erin Tañada, Mike Defensor
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