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The Lopezes must sell ABS-CBN

"They must do this if they truly care about their workers."

 

 

There are two options left for the Lopezes in connection with the ABS-CBN radio-television network. One is to have most of its programs have a blocktime arrangement with Pangilinan-owned TV5. In fact, Manny Pangilinan already offered his television station when ABS-CBN was ordered shut down by the National Telecommunications Solution upon expiration of its franchise.

This blocktime arrangement would satisfy a lot of people who would be able to watch their favorite programs again. More importantly, the layoff of 11,000 workers won’t be as painful.

Another option is for the Lopezes to sell ABS-CBN outright. It is a profitable enterprise. If indeed the Lopezes cared about their workers, this would prevent the employees from joining the ranks of the jobless. The Department of Labor and Employment estimates that there are now 7.3 million Filipinos unemployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sources tell me that Dennis Uy, a businessman from Davao City, is just waiting for the go-signal from the Lopezes. Santa Banana, I am sure that aside from Uy, there are many others who would be interested in such a profitable media organization.

The Lopezes should now realize that they had their heyday. It’s time to go.

I have been a journalist for 70 years and I saw how the Lopezes rose with ABS-CBN. And now I have seen it fall.

Insofar as the Lopezes are concerned, I am really wondering if the House Committee on Legislative Franchises will still change its mind about the renewal of the franchise. If that is the case, then ABS-CBN would be on air again, and the Lopezes would prove that they enjoy the public’s sympathy.

**

Republic Act 11479, the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, took effect last Saturday. As of the moment it still does not have its Implementing Rules and Regulations – it will probably be finished in 90 days.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra says that the law can be implemented right away even without the IRR.

I really don’t know how the Supreme Court would decide on at least nine petitions claiming that the law is unconstitutional. But I believe it is, too.

For instance, there is a provision that exempts law enforcers from liability should there be a delay in bringing suspects to court. This violates Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code which imposes criminal liability on law enforcement agents who fail to bring subjects to court within the prescribed period – 12, 18 or 36 hours depending on the offense.

And then, there is a provision that suspects can waive the application of Article 125 on them, especially if they are able to exhaust all remedies at the prosecutorial level. Santa Banana, why waive Article 125? It is elementary that only the person who enjoys the right can waive the same. It would be perilous if someone can waive the rights of another without the other’s consent.

To me, as a lawyer, the most glaring example of unconstitutionality is Article VII, Section 18, where during martial law the suspect should be brought to court or otherwise be released. But in the Anti-Terrorism Act, this period can be extended to 24 days. This is not martial law – or is it?

There is also the fact that the House of Representatives railroaded the bill in violation of Article VI, Sections 26 (2) because the bill hurdles second and third readings in two consecutive days, depriving the House members the opportunity of fully discerning its implications once passed. The bill was also never printed with copies of its final form distributed to all members of Congress.

And while the President did certify the bill as urgent, he did not say what emergency or calamity it was for.

**

It is not too difficult to know why the number of COVID-19 cases have been surging for the past three weeks or so. First, there has been greater mobility among the people.

There is also the fact that mass testing is picking up.

I believe it all boils down to discipline on the part of the people, especially the masa. The “bahala na” mentality is very much at play here.

This is the reason I believe there is need for stricter guidelines and health protocols. I think the restrictions were eased too suddenly.

I don’t think it is farfetched to say that by the end of July, we could have as many as 80,000 to 85,000 cases.

Given the way we are going, it will be months before we can flatten the curve. I hope however that things could be better by Christmas.

**

Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año has ordered members of the Bureau of Fire Protection instead of the police to do the house-to-house search for COVID patients so that they can be put in quarantine facilities. But how can they do this when even the bed capacities of hospitals are full?

I still believe that government people entering private homes should have a warrant. Otherwise, this would be patently illegal. Obviously, Año does not realize that.

Topics: Emil Jurado , Lopezes , ABS-CBN , Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 , COVID-19 , DILG Secretary Eduardo Año
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