Action for Economic Reforms, its officers, fellows, partners, and friends denounce the arbitrary cease-and desist order against ABS-CBN.  Such politically motivated action undermines the whole-of-society effort to beat COVID-19.

Media organizations, including ABS-CBN, play a critical public service role in fighting COVID-19.  The dissemination of information and the facilitation of coordination through communication networks are indispensable for the collective action to fight COVID-19.  The continuation of ABS-CBN operations serves public health; it serves the public good.

It is a supreme and most tragic irony that a media organization that is doing public service in the time of COVID-19 is being singled out to close down but non-essential Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) are being allowed to open despite the danger they bring in transmitting infection.

The cease-and-desist order is legally contestable.  The Secretary of Justice previously issued a statement that, based on a Supreme Court precedence, ABS-CBN can continue to operate as long as its application for franchise renewal is pending in Congress.   In this regard, the Senate has adopted a resolution for the issuance of a provisional authority to ABS-CBN.  Meantime, Representative Franz Alvarez, the Chairman of the House Committee on legislative franchises criticized Solicitor General Jose Calida for pressuring the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to issue the cease-and-desist order.  He continued: “We would like to make it clear that Congress takes this matter very seriously as it directly challenges our exclusive Constitutional authority to grant, deny, extend, revoke, or modify broadcast franchises.”

Nevertheless, the leadership of the House of Representatives, specifically Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, must be made accountable for delaying the action on the franchise renewal.  This makes Speaker Cayetano and his political faction complicit in the conspiracy to close down ABS-CBN.

We likewise score the NTC for bowing to political pressure.  We condemn Solicitor General Calida for his political arbitrariness; for ditching national cohesiveness in fighting COVID-19 to give way to his opaque interests.

From the perspective of addressing the country’s health and economic survival,  we no longer need to speculate whether President Rodrigo Duterte is bent on inflicting harm on ABS-CBN or is playing a political charade to ultimately look good.   This action of closing down ABS-CBN sends a signal that the administration does not care about national unity and is more concerned about political vendetta.   This sets back our long fight against COVID-19.

The political backlash is now happening.  Tragically, the Filipino people will suffer most—with their lives and their health at stake— from this political turmoil that this administration has created amidst the pandemic.

 

Signatories (as of 12:00pm, May 8):

  1. Michael M. Alba
  2. Fernando Aldaba
  3. Luz Anigan
  4. Krupskaya Anonuevo
  5. Felipe Q. Buencamino
  6. Jessica Reyes-Cantos
  7. Jenina Joy Chavez
  8. Jerik Cruz
  9. Buenaventura Dargantes
  10. Jo-Ann Latuja-Diosana
  11. Eddie Dorotan
  12. Laurence Go
  13. Cielito F. Habito
  14. Yusuf Ledesma
  15. Alberto (Bertie) A. Lim
  16. Fides M. Lim
  17. Cielo Magno
  18. Manuel (Butch) F. Montes
  19. Michael Ocampo
  20. Rene Ofreneo
  21. Victoria Viterbo Quimbo
  22. Rene R. Raya
  23. Rina Maria P. Rosales
  24. Filomeno S. Sta. Ana III
  25. Zak Yuson
  26. Florencia Casanova-Dorotan
  27. Dr. Abundio Balgos
  28. Ken Abante
  29. Maria Fe Villamejor-Mendoza
  30. Annie Enriquez Geron
  31. Gerry Bulatao
  32. Miguel Dorotan
  33. Sally Bulatao
  34. Alfred Dicto
  35. Meldin Al Roy
  36. Elizabeth Lolarga
  37. Ma. Doreen Era Denorte
  38. Earl Parreno
  39. Kaloy Manlupig
  40. Marivic Penaflor
  41. Christian Ramilo
  42. Imelda Deinla
  43. Adrian Adove
  44. Ben Endriga
  45. Lila Shahani
  46. Vince Rafael
  47. Lulu Reyes
  48. Didi Poblador-Mendoza
  49. Mae Sevilla
  50. Jay Carizo
  51. Lourdes Padilla
  52. Susan V. Tagle
  53. Menandro Berana
  54. Jen Fabros
  55. Alce Quitalig
  56. Manolette Gonzalez
  57. Fe Manapat
  58. Isaiah Anthony Mateo
  59. Rose Teves
  60. Elai Lasap
  61. Verge Gepuela
  62. Marge Polintan
  63. Felice Noelle Rodriguez
  64. Ines Avellana-Fernandez
  65. TR Gutierrez
  66. Marlene Destreza Ramirez
  67. Allan Borreo
  68. Elsie Borreo
  69. Jose Leonidas
  70. Patricia Fe Gonzales
  71. Osamu Yamada Pandak
  72. Tony de Castro
  73. Rene Bong Magtubo
  74. Odette Padilla
  75. Myrna Jimenez
  76. Norly Grace Mercado
  77. Annie Serrano
  78. Maria Veronica Tayag
  79. Cheen Layman
  80. Cory Luarca
  81. Ward Luarca
  82. Maxine Tanya Hamada
  83. Jing Lopez
  84. Chin Chin Tan
  85. Borgy Eab Santillan
  86. Ram Bonifacio
  87. Alejandro M. Gapasin
  88. Nila Carpio
  89. Das Zaballero
  90. Julie Dacanay Paran
  91. Toix Cerna
  92. Bonn Juego
  93. Maria Jovita Zarate
  94. Diogenes Osabel
  95. Marie Osabel
  96. Nina Lim-Yuson
  97. Hazel Villarosa
  98. Joseph Marquez Aquino
  99. Eli Guieb III
  100. Nenette D. Pacoli
  101. Ernesto Lactao
  102. Loida Corpus
  103. Ancieta Baltar
  104. George Lang
  105. Segundo Eclar Romero
  106. Fernando Santos
  107. Alice Lim
  108. Bimboy Dbusti
  109. Julius Abujuela
  110. James Paul H. Esguerra
  111. Girlie Sinadjan
  112. Lucky Mand
  113. Lito San Antonio
  114. Alim Norud
  115. Leona Alexandra
  116. Luz Amandolina C. Navasero
  117. Doods Santos
  118. Laplana Alona-Alegre
  119. Grace Martinez Pamandanan
  120. Patricia M. Sarenas
  121. Ernie Amechachurra
  122. Rogie Tangco
  123. Luz Retuya
  124. Eusebio R. Jacinto Jr.
  125. Rosa Villa Gerardo Oclarit
  126. Nerisa L. Mercado
  127. Marivic Vazquez
  128. Natividad Abad Aquino
  129. Roy Bero
  130. Leah Castro
  131. Eliza Beth
  132. Ser Pena-Reyes
  133. Lilli Ann Latuja
  134. Severo Balabas
  135. Patricia Malay Kho
  136. Cecila Lero
  137. John Paul Balayon
  138. Cory Bataclan-San Juan
  139. Rosemarie Johnson Herrera
  140. Amihan Abueva
  141. Ed Qui
  142. Letty Cortan
  143. Mina Siason
  144. Judith Estor
  145. Joey Silva
  146. Florencio Esteban
  147. Violeta Roque
  148. Maria Perpetua Robles Guzman
  149. Cathy Segura Tanedo
  150. Felix Tanedo
  151. Sherry Palencia Verzola
  152. Mary Lou Alcid
  153. Teresita Marie Bagasao
  154. Joyce Caragay
  155. Kay Abano Raya
  156. Cecilia Padilla Famatigan
  157. Antonio Estrada
  158. Anne Umali
  159. Diego Maranan
  160. Bullit Marquez
  161. Francia Clavecillas
  162. Fides Bagasao
  163. Meyan Mendoza
  164. Milagros S. Serrana
  165. Ma. Paulita Sta. Ana Sales
  166. Tess Nuestro Domingo
  167. Pakito Yeneza
  168. Ronee Juanengo
  169. Eric Cruz
  170. Lynn Capones
  171. Teresa Habitan
  172. Bonnie Banzon
  173. Marti Espenido
  174. Marion Villanueva
  175. Julita Sison
  176. Seth Papasin
  177. Annabelle Jayco
  178. Agnes Lopez Manasan
  179. Gloria B. Caronan
  180. Rochit Tanedo
  181. Maria Ines Pinat
  182. Mary Lou Alcid
  183. Elizabeth Narvarte-Pucate
  184. Rick Esguerra
  185. Mariden G. Bebak
  186. Pilita Venturanza
  187. Joey Mendoza
  188. Julie Dacanay Paran
  189. Antonio La Vina
  190. Lolita dela Cruz
  191. Mike Limjap
  192. Lirio Calixto
  193. Christian Payumo
  194. Gio Dexter Santos
  195. Robert John Guarino
  196. Patrick Acupan
  197. Brenda Orosco
  198. Anna Diana Mole
  199. Faith Macale