(Photo courtesy by CNN Ph)

Why is Harry Roque exacerbating an issue that is not a gut, life-and-death concern at a time when the economy is barely recovering from a pandemic crisis?

Will ABS-CBN create new wealth for many of our middle income groups who lost their money because of an economy slowed down by Covid-19?

Will ABS-CBN put food in the table for many in our 110 population who are poor and who missed a meal-or-two during the days of the lockdown?

Is ABS-CBN even an issue of national interest?

This notwithstanding, even if the proposal to submit the ABS-CBN as a matter of possibility can submitted for a people’s initiative, why spawn a debate to resurrect a cadaver that is on its early stage of decomposition?

Why don’t we instead subject to people’s initiative to add another four years for President Duterte’s term so he can bring his Build-Build-Build program to its logical conclusion?

Or to establish a revolutionary government to rid our society of demagogues, dilettantes and sycophants who have stalled the momentum of President Marcos’ revolution from the center?

The enactment of the OFW department is pending in the Senate.

The discussion on yet a Department of Fisheries to jumpstart our poorest of the poor, the fisherfolk, into the mainstream of our economy to exploit a productive territory a hundredfold bigger than our arable land.

Have we so missed the flagellants of the Holy Week that we would subject our people into another horror story of unscrupulous businessmen and pea-brain movie stars terrorizing our government?

Or is this just Harry running for the senate in 2022 appeasing the erstwhile newly found constellation of instant, visceral and self-proclaimed human rights advocates?

Lay it to rest, Mr. Roque, the Lopezes lost their franchise, fair and square. In fact, the next step for this oligarchy should have been to pass it on to the judiciary to prosecute their exposed crimes in the appropriate court to do justice to the parties they have abused through the years.

If you really wanted to upstage today’s folk heroes Rodante Marcoleta and Boying Remulla, you should have advised the President to take on the next festering dragon in our society – Meralco (and the power sector that has awed Alfonso Cusi to frozen inutility) who has raped the consumers at the peak of the state of medical emergency we are in.

The government takeover of Meralco (and others affected) is overdue because the Supreme Court itself has already passed on an en-banc decision for the Energy Regulatory Commission to determine just how much “least cost” they should have charged, given unperformed four regulatory periods that they have gouged the public with over-collections over provisional increases they have imposed for the past 16 years.   

But what’s happening the oligarchic legal artillery is subjecting reform to be endlessly postponed through “motions for reconsideration,” and maybe even “temporary restraining order.”

All this while the Meralco triad continues to diversify onto other businesses using the people’s overdue refunds as equity for expansion, a supreme injustice that ABS-CBN has helped cover up with its award-winning enjoyment of its press freedom.

A simple “no comment” would have sufficed.

But no, the presidential spokesman has lowered himself to the miniscule level of a third rate lawyer that even the Public Attorney’s Office would not hire. As some bloggers have posted, Malacanang has been lured by the fangs of a donkey.

Our social order, indeed has been taken hostage, by lawyers many of whom have been hired by liars.

Worst, the presidential spokesman, has even played to the peanut gallery, taking hook-line-and-sinker a suspicious SWS survey and using a line that the Duterte Diehard Supporters will not allow to go unnoticed in the 2022 elections, as he said: “We lost a media partner in information dissemination, considering that the broadcast network has one of the widest, if not the widest reach, in the archipelago.”

Harry you are a dear friend, and we have fought fierce battles together. But IMHO, that was not a slip of the tongue but a tremendously awkward cop out.

Now this.

SC TO DECIDE IF ABS-CBN FRANCHISE CAN BE REGAINED: PALACE

Manila (Philippine News Agency)– Malacañang took a hands-off approach anew on the franchise of media giant ABS-CBN Corp. saying it would defer to the Supreme Court to decide if the network’s franchise can be regained through the proposed “people’s initiative.”

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this remark after some lawyers and law professors pushed for the use of the proposed people’s initiative, under Article VI, Section 32 of the 1987 Constitution, where voters can directly legislate a franchise for the network.

This after the House Committee on Legislative Franchises junked ABS-CBN’s franchise bid in a 70-11 vote, permanently shutting down a major part of the country’s largest media network.

On Saturday, human rights lawyer Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno said he believes that a proposed people’s initiative to revive ABS-CBN Corp.’s franchise bid is feasible for the network.

This idea was first raised by lawyer Enrique Dela Cruz in a now viral Facebook post.

On the other hand, lawyer Trixie Angeles said the people’s initiative may not be applicable to legislative franchises since the law for it is private or will only be applied to an individual or corporation.

This legislative exercise requires the signature of at least 10 percent of the total voting population in the country. It will also require each district to be represented by at least three percent of voters.

Meanwhile, Roque also took note of the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey which showed that 75 percent of Filipinos said that Congress should renew ABS-CBN’s franchise.

The SWS survey also showed that 13 percent of Filipinos said they disagreed on the ABS-CBN franchise renewal, while 10 percent of them were undecided.

Roque, however, reiterated that the granting of a broadcasting franchise is the sole and exclusive prerogative of Congress.

“As provided in Republic Act 7925, or the ‘Public Telecommunications Policy Act,’ a franchise is ‘a privilege conferred upon a telecommunications entity by Congress, authorizing that entity to engage in a certain type of telecommunications service,’” he said. (ia/SPH)