Press Release
July 13, 2020

Dispatch from Crame No. 844:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima on the denial of ABS-CBN's franchise renewal

What more can be said that hasn't been said on the saga of ABS-CBN?

The Sellout-70 did exactly as expected: forego reason in order to accommodate the wishes of Mr. Duterte. They may deny it, but the circumstances and logic clearly point to it.

How else can one explain the fact that they disregarded the categorical statements of government regulatory agencies that ABS-CBN has complied with its obligations under our laws; or why they ignored the gargantuan role of ABS-CBN in our economy as a large-scale taxpayer, employer, consumer and supplier of goods and services; or, most importantly, how silencing the premiere media company in our country offends the constitutional guarantee of freedom of the press?!

How dare they call themselves representatives of the people when they refuse to heed pleas of thousands of Filipinos depending on the operations of ABS-CBN for their livelihood and millions more who depend on ABS-CBN for news and entertainment? How can they see this as anything but a great loss for our country and democracy?

The answer can only be that the Sellout-70 is not acting in the best interest of our country. Sarili lamang nila ang kanilang iniisip, hindi ang kapakanan ng nakararaming Filipino.

Paulit-ulit na sinasabi ng ating mga ekonomista na pabagsak ang ating ekonomiya dala ng salot ng COVID-19 kaya kailangan natin ng mga negosyanteng handang tumulong na magbigay ng kabuhayan sa marami nating kababayang naghahanap ng trabaho. Sa halip na magdagdag ng trabaho, mga unemployed ang dinagdagan ng Sellout-70. Lugmok na nga ang maraming Filipino, lalo pa nila pinalaganap ang kahirapan.

Walang nilabag na batas ang ABS-CBN at handa silang tumulong sa ating bayan. Subalit binalewala ito ng Sellout-70 at ang bayan ang nawalan. Nawalan ng trabaho, nawalan ng balita, at nawalan ng karapatan sa malayang pamamahayag.

Mr. Duterte cannot wash his hands off of this injustice. He set this in motion. He sent out his message early that he would block the renewal of the franchise. And his sycophants celebrate the denial of the franchise. There is no doubt in the country's mind that this was done for him and in his behalf. There is also no doubt that we have a wicked, vindictive and soulless President.

I take solace in the fact that we have the Brave-11 who stood their ground in the face of extreme pressure from their peers. For our country to rise again from the devastation brought about by COVID-19 and the criminally inept governance of the Duterte regime and his Davao clique, we need more principled public servants like the Brave-11. Let July 10 be remembered as the day when the great few stood in Congress for ABS-CBN and our democracy.

But, how much longer will principled public servants remain a minority in this damaged country?

(Access the handwritten copy of Dispatch from Crame No. 844, here:

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