The House of Representatives’ Committee on Legislative Franchises dealt a major blow as it denied the franchise renewal of the largest broadcasting network in the Philippines.
Out of the 85 committee members, the decision resulted in a majority of 70 affirmative votes in favor of passing the resolution to deny a new 25-year franchise application of ABS-CBN. With the decision, the bills to grant the media giant its franchise will no longer advance to the plenary level.
While Malacañang insisted that it was neutral on the issue, they cannot deny the fact that President Rodrigo Duterte previously threatened ABS-CBN with closure on several occasions.
This news saddened not only the 11,000 workers but also every Filipino citizen who has been with the network throughout the years.
As citizens called out the unjust ruling of the Congress, a certain law was raised online as a remedy to fight the denial of ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal. The said law was the 1989 ‘people’s initiative’ law (Republic Act No. 6735). Its purpose is to primarily provide a procedure for the Filipino people to directly initiate constitutional amendments. In other words, people can exercise the powers of Congress and the various Sanggunian without the need to get elected as legislators. Therefore, this gives Filipinos the right to directly enact a national law granting the network a license.
This claim was backed up by attorney Enrique “Buko” Dela Cruz, as he said that the ABS-CBN network can apply the ‘people’s initiative’ for it to continue its operation.
Law professor Atty. Enrique dela Cruz on the denial of ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal:“Another remedy is people’s…
However, passing national legislation won’t be easy. In order for it to succeed the drafted law must be signed by at least 10 percent of the country’s total voters, and at least 3 percent of every legislative district’s voters.
After the compilation, the Commission on Elections will verify the authenticity of the signatures and will schedule a referendum. If approved by a majority of the country’s voters, a proposed national law becomes a full-fledged law that is equivalent to laws passed by Congress.
Kung ayaw ng Kongreso, taumbayan na mag-renew ng prangkisa ng ABSCBN via people’s initiative. Reqts: signatures of at least 3% of registered voters (RVs) in each leg district & 10% of total RVs in the country; & majority votes in a plebiscite. Kaya ba? #YesToABSCBNFranchise
— Third Bagro (@thirdbagro) July 10, 2020
This possibility made many Filipinos hopeful as they started their petition to gather the needed signatories for the network’s franchise.
Also, Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership group just started the call for more supporters through the People’s Initiative law. The group stated that they strongly condemned the decision of Congress to reject the network’s franchise. Further implying that the move was heartless knowing that 11,000 workers will lose their livelihood amid the pandemic.
The call for support was shared on Facebook and has already garnered around 125 signatures.
LOOK: Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership Group nanawagan na upang mabigyan ng Prangkisa ang…
Despite this, some are still in doubt questioning whether the said law is legit or may just be another useless petition to Congress.
Peoples Initiative cant be use for franchise.
— Kram (@kramlatte) July 10, 2020
legit po ba to sya mam..?? cause I will sign up po.
— LabLabKoh (@mahmahannann) July 10, 2020
The attack on the ABS-CBN network also affected millions of Filipinos who rely on its services. Congress repeatedly accused the media of certain violations that were cleared out by government agencies.
And the company’s President and CEO Carlo Katigbak swore to improve and rectify any shortcomings that they may have. However, despite the rebuttals to prove its innocence the grant of its franchise was denied.