A signature campaign aimed towards getting ABS-CBN a new franchise has been launched Friday, July 25.
“There was definitely no legal justification that deserved the death sentence of ABS-CBN, its thousands of workers, and their families,” declared the group People’s Initiative for Reforms and Movement for Action or PIRMA Kapamilya, in a statement.
In launching the signature campaign, PIRMA is activating Section 32, Article VI in relation to Section 1, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution.
PIRMA said it “aims to gather 7 Million signatures nationwide in order to grant ABS-CBN a ‘people’s franchise’ and allow it ‘to operate and maintain, for commercial purposes and in the public interest, radio and/or television broadcasting stations in the Philippines, including a digital television system’.”
To be successful, the people’s initiative requires the signatures of at least 3% of registered voters in each legislative district and at least 10% of total registered voters in the country.
“After these have been duly validated by COMELEC, a plebiscite shall be called which will need a majority of votes cast to approve the proposed bill,” PIRMA added.
Article 32, Article VI states that: “The Congress shall, as early as possible, provide for a system of initiative and referendum, and the exceptions therefrom, whereby the people can directly propose and enact laws or approve or reject any act or law or part thereof passed by the Congress or local legislative body after the registration of a petition therefor signed by at least ten per centum of the total number of registered voters, of which every legislative district must be represented by at least three per centum of the registered voters thereof.”
Meanwhile, PIRMA convenor Atty. Dino De Leon and a group of lawyers have already finished the draft of the proposed franchise law of ABS-CBN which the public can download at www.pirma.ph and have their signatures affixed on printed copies.
Reminding the public to observe health protocols, PIRMA assured it is finding ways to provide these print-outs to hard-to-reach areas, identify drop-off centers, and to partner with grassroots organizations and sectoral groups in gathering the signatures.
“While it acknowledges the challenges that the initiative may face, PIRMA Kapamilya remains undaunted and is buoyed by the popular public support that ABS-CBN enjoys,” PIRMA said.
The group cited that the Social Weather Station (SWS) in early July revealed that an overwhelming 75 percent of Filipinos want the ABS-CBN franchise renewed while 56 percent agree that its shutdown was a “blow to press freedom.”
Aside from De Leon, PIRMA’s convenors include University of the Philippines (UP) law professor and former Presidential Management Staff Undersecretary Herminio “Third” Bagro III; Far Eastern University (FEU) Institute of Law professor Eirene Jhone Aguila; UP law professor and human rights advocate Mike Tiu; youth governance advocate Allan Pangilinan; and Ateneo School of Government professor of praxis and business consultant Leon Flores III, among others.
PIRMA assured it is not connected with ABS-CBN and that it is an independent, non-partisan, and organic group driven by volunteers.