Senator Leila de Lima on Monday commended the 11 lawmakers who voted in favor of ABS-CBN Corp.’s franchise renewal, saying the country needs more principled lawmakers like them.
“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,” De Lima said in a statement.
“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,” the opposition lawmaker said.
Last Friday, the House Committee on Legislative Franchises voted 70-11 in favor of rejecting ABS-CBN’s application for a 25-year franchise, which stunned Lower House members who thought official testimonies that the network had not violated any law or regulation is enough for it to be granted a fresh license.
The 11 House lawmakers who voted for ABS-CBN’s franchise were:
1. Sol Aragones
2. Toff De Venecia
3. Carlos Zarate
4. Gab Bordado
5. Vilma Santos Recto
6. Lianda Bolilia
7. Ping Tejada
8. Benny Abante
9. Stella Quimbo
10. Mujiv Hataman
11. Edward Maceda
In contrast, De Lima said the “Sell-out 70” did exactly as expected: “forego reason in order to accommodate the wishes of Mr. Duterte.”
“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?!” De Lima pointed out.
“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 (They were only thinking about themselves and not the best interest of the Filipino people),” she stressed.
The vocal critic of the Duterte administration further said she believes that the President “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,” she stated.
“Let July 10 be remembered as the day when the great few stood in Congress for ABS-CBN and our democracy,” she further said.