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A failed genocidal President vs a TV network serving Filipinos for 65 years

The sickly genocidal maniac of Malacañang once again hurled threats against a Filipino television network ”ABS-CBN” who, according him, had failed to air his political campaign ads back in 2016 and have been known for many of its particularly truthful and honest report coverage about Duterte’s War on Drugs which may have portrayed the said policy of reckless butchery in a more negative way.

Essentially speaking. Duterte is simply trying to put journalists on their toes just as he did whilst he was still the Davao City mayor. He was even known to be the one who assassinated a notorious radio-broadcaster and critic Jun Pala as revealed by a ”Davao Death Squad” team-leader Lascañas. The grim story of how the death squads murdered the entire family, including his pregnant wife and a young boy were chillingly narrated by Lascañas during the senate hearings and of course through various media interviews that followed.

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Also, Lascañas’ claim supports the testimony of the Senate resource person and self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato who said it was Duterte who ordered Pala’s murder.

“Kaya namamatay kasi karamihan diyan nabayaran na. They take sides or sobrahan ang atake, getting personal,” – Duterte

“Just because you are a journalist you are exempted from assassination… Freedom of expression (sic) cannot help you if you have done something wrong.” – Duterte

So it has been very clear that Duterte’s grudge against reporters or media-companies who’s been very dedicated in their work to serve the public with unbiased information that inadvertently puts the Duterte administration in what they perceived to be an intentional negative portrayal to the public. Like for example, we have the reporter ”Pia Ranada” from Rappler who’s been targeted and banned from the Malacañang complex simply for asking the right questions which annoyed Duterte so much.

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Then we have Maria Ressa. A founder of an innovative online-news platform called ”Rappler” who just like ABS-CBN had been very dedicated in their work in covering many of Duterte’s misdeeds, corruption-scandals, the propaganda troll network and of course the rampant extra-judicial killings. Thus, in retaliation of Rappler’s steeled journalistic mission of public transparency may have alarmed Duterte and his allies, which prompted them to retaliate in a massively intimidating way of using government agencies and resources to attack and slap Ressa’s Rappler with more than 11 court-cases.

ABS-CBN franchise non-renewal is one of Duterte’s ace against the TV network – But is this supposed to be normal?

Under Philippine law, broadcasters must secure congressional franchises in order to operate. ABS-CBN’s franchise, issued in 1995, will expire in March 2020. And the renewal of such franchise would require congressional approval. So basically, Duterte or any sitting President should have no hand on the renewal of such franchise since the legislative branch of the government is separate from his office. This is basic and most important tenets of dividing the powers of the government to ensure that no one man can control everything and anything under him.

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However, Duterte is an exception. Just like I said. He has the popular support of the Congress with many of them were all his allies and as such would do everything in his own bidding even as far as meddling in the Lower House speakership by appointing someone he pleases. His words are like God and worshipped by his allies even if the heaven-and-earth would collapse.

This is completely unheard of in a healthy and functioning democracy.  Which eerily reminds us of the dark days of dictatorship under the Marcos regime and of course the fascist rule of Adolf Hitler.

So naturally, when Duterte declared that ABS-CBN’s franchise must not be renewed come 2020, then his allies in the Congress unwittingly cheered and agreed even before such measure were yet to be formally filed. Of course? Duterte is their God, yet their earnings and salaries comes from the purse of the people — anyways? Who cares?

According to a short-blog piece by a netizen and also the leader of The Silent Majority group Jozy Acosta-Nisperos. Duterte’s beef against the Lopeze’s were not actually focused on them alone or whether they were oligarchs or not, but rather it’s a grim and tell-tale piece of political maneuvering to shatter its corporate stock value and allow a swift take-over of a Duterte crony at a very cheap price and then later renew the franchise.

He did the same thing on PhilWeb and will do it again.

Here’s what Jozy said on her wall :

The issue with ABS-CBN, for me, has nothing to do with whether or not the network is pro- or anti-admin, nor with the fact that many Duterte-enablers walk its halls. (Note, too, that many who are decidedly NOT enablers also walk those halls.) In the same vein, it’s not about who owns it.

For me, the ABS-CBN controversy is most troublesome on two points:

1. It’s an attack on the free press. A successful attack will strike fear into other media outlets, cowering them into subservience. With that subservience, yet another democratic institution – the fourth estate – will be co-opted. Duterte will be proven right – he won’t need martial law.

2. Should Duterte, via a crony, instead succeed in taking over ABS-CBN (rather than cancelling its franchise), with ABS-CBN’s massive reach, popularity and mass appeal, he will have in his hands a powerful tool for propaganda and mass indoctrination. It won’t be surprising if, over time, China’s creeping infiltration will be firmly embedded in our culture, repressing our current objections to their assault on our way of life (not to mention our territories).

Is number 2 unlikely? Many have assured me it is. I hope so. While Lopez Holdings hold a 56% controlling share in ABS-CBN, the Lopez family itself only holds a 52% share in Lopez Holdings (through the family-held Lopez Inc.). That translates to only 29% of ABS-CBN being held by the Lopezes. Let’s hope the other 48% of Lopez Holdings withstand the business pressure of ABS-CBN’s falling shares, and hold out.

(EDIT: Lopez Inc. owns another 19%, through their 50% ownership of ABS-CBN Holdings, which owns 38% of ABS-CBN. So that’s a total of 48%. Sana talaga kumapit yung mga shareholder-individuals.)

(EDIT 2: A total of 43% of ABS-CBN is held by the public, 7% directly and the rest indirectly through the holding companies. So you just need 8% more to be able to execute a hostile takeover.)

Duterte-enablers Failon, de Castro, et al? They’re minor characters in the plot. In fact, they’re handy for making a government takedown of ABS-CBN palatable to even oppositionists. (Yes, sadly, this can be seen in some comment threads.)

It’s a free, un-intimidated press we should be fighting for, regardless of network, regardless of who owns it, regardless of who appears in it.

Right there and then, it’s pretty easy to distinguish the obvious boogeyman policies of the President where he rouses the public with misleading populist bravado against a particular firm, organization or individual and then once such have been replaced or has satisfied his whims — retracts later leaving many of his gullible followers lost yet still attempting a despicable twist of the story.

Here we have a President who for the last three-years failed in almost all of his promises. Such as throwing corrupt politicians off a helicopter, jailing big-time druglords such as Peter Lim and of course, ultimately fixing criminality in three to six-months plus another six-months extension. This seemed pretty obvious that the problem isn’t about fixing criminality, but the President could be the real criminal himself

I could not help but wonder just why until now many people were still mesmerized and trapped in the 2016-era thinking. Duterte isn’t a strong man, but a rude sickly good-for-nothing wimp. And for the last three-years of his Presidency were a disaster to both morally and economically. It was an abject and total failure. Compared to a television network who’s been serving Filipinos for more than 65 years through public-service, news media information, entertainment and educational documentaries which had molded the Filipino in us.

Duterte really did not want to close ABS-CBN but to control it. Even if it means enlisting the help of his most powerful financial backer. China to fund and snatch the company under his most favore crony. Of course, with Chinese strings attached.

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