MANILA, Philippines — The Amnesty International (AI) has on Saturday condemned the Office of the Solicitor General which recently filed a quo warranto petition with the Supreme Court to cancel the congressional franchise of ABS-CBN what was claimed as “abusive practices” undertaken by the network.
In an online report, AI said “the Duterte administration seems intent on skirting the regular legislative process in the granting of media franchises” in obvious reference to the petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida last Monday in the Supreme Court.
In filing the case, the SG cited abusive practices by ABS-CBN even as it also violated “the constitutional prohibition on foreign ownership of media when it issued Philippine Depositary Receipts to foreigners through its holding corporation.”
However, the network maintained that it complied with all the laws governing its franchise.
But for AI, Calida’s peitition is a form of governmental attack against the media company and a “sign of the further deterioration” of the human rights situation in the country.
“The Duterte administration should end its relentless attacks on human rights and the rule of law,” Amnesty International said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Senate’s minority leader Franklin Drilon on Saturday urged the Lower House to hold hearings on at least 11 bills seeking to renew ABS-CBN’s franchise which Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano sought to defer until after emotions normalize.
“We have a duty. And the franchise application is pending, and there is a March 30 deadline. It is in the public interest that it should be acted upon,” Drilon said in a radio interview in reaction to Cayetano’s statement.
ABS-CBN came under fire from no other than President Duterte, who accused it of not airing his political advertisements during the 2016 presidential campaign.
“I will see to it that you are out,” Duterte was quoted as saying then. (IAMIGO/sovereignph.com)