‘Threats and bullying’ over ABS-CBN issue deplored

PLEASE no threats and bullying over the ABS-CBN franchise issue.

This was the call of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano to both for and against the franchise of ABS-CBN Corp. which the committees on legislative franchises and good government have started looking into.

Cayetano has reiterated his appeal for calm and sobriety among critics and supporters of ABS-CBN.

Addressing his colleagues during the second House hearing on the ABS-CBN franchise issue, Cayetano said it would have been easier for congressmen “to go with the flow and approve or deny the (network’s) franchise like what the extremists on the opposite camps want us to do.”

“But we cannot do that, because it is wrong. What is right is we hear every side, give everyone the opportunity to speak, gather all the facts, and make a fair and an impartial decision. It is wrong to resort to bullying and making threats and insults. Let us respect each other’s opinion,” he said.

The Speaker repeated his commitment to “a fair, impartial, comprehensive, and thorough examination of all the facts regarding this issue.” 

“That commitment has not wavered nor changed despite all the criticism that has been thrown at Congress, and at me personally,” he said.

He urged ABS-CBN critics and supporters alike not to let anger prevail.

“That is un-Filipino, that is not what responsible citizens do. Let’s debate, let us stand for our principles, but let us also love each other, he said.

The committees will resume the hearing next Monday.

The ABS-CBN Corp franchise expired last May 4 and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) stopped its operations.

According to Cayetano, the hearings on the proposed grant of a fresh broadcasting privilege to ABS-CBN are “not just about the network and its franchise.” 

“They are also about Congress and how we conduct ourselves. And this I will promise -- we will listen to the facts as they are presented and weigh the opinions as they are given but we will not be bullied, threatened, ignored, or manipulated by anyone from doing our duty. From doing what is right,” he said.

He asked all those who have something to say on the network and its franchise to attend the hearings or communicate to the committee on legislative franchises and the committee on good government their opinions and present facts.

“Let us hear all sides with an open mind,” Cayetano added.

The Speaker has lamented that the debate on the ABS-CBN franchise issue has become a “poisoned well” and that the pro and anti-sides have resorted to name-calling and throwing insults at each other.