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Democracy at risk


Looks like the Duterte Administration is all set to bury the ABS-CBN as soon as it is pronounced dead by either the Supreme Court or the House of Representatives.

The most likely scenario is that of the High Court doing a Pilate, simply waiting for the lawmakers to find their long-lost spines and wake up in time or just let the franchise bills filed turn into a Mona Lisa song. Washing of hands is older than the N Covi and dead-on-arrival doesn’t happen only in hospitals.

On TV, Labor top man Silvestre Bello is holding his breath. He says his department has, at least, a tripatite scheme to keep the 11,000 or so for the would-be orphans of ABSCBN, ranging from relief assistance, financial loans and job placements. Did he say the other networks are good prospects for those who will join the rank of unemployed?

Attaboy! Jump, jump!

Solicitor General Jose Calida had tasted blood when he was able to push former SC Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno out of office through a similar Quo Warranto petition before the High Tribunal. Obviously, Dracula wants more before the sun shines on his client. Marx said history is repeated as a tragedy and then turn into a farce.

As far as the Constitution is concerned, Calida knows he is playing the dice. Forfeiting the TV station’s franchise is not the justices job. It’s the kindergartens’, quoting Joey Salceda. Thank you, sir. But you’ll never know; the justices might just humor him or the one really behind.

Let’s get it straight: We have been estranged from the rule of law that we think the reverse is like it or just as good.

The rule of law says, “Observe the due process.”

The law of rule asks, “What process?”

The former insists, “Go through the process.”

The latter says, “Go through the motion.”

That’s how bad off we are, may be even worse off.

And Malacanang has nothing to do with it? My foot!.

Once upon a not-so-distant time, the late board member Rustico Capulong, an amiable lawyer who loves to eat corn on cob at the Capitol, was glued on a TV show when suddenly a familiar appeared on the screen.

Suddenly turning indignant, Capulong blurted out as he pointed his finger at the man on cam: Oyni ing pekamalaram diling tao king yatu. (This is the ultimate liar on earth.)

I felt the same thing, almost a default posture, when I saw the present jester mouthed, with the patented scorn and smirk on his face all the time, the usual baloney, like a piece of cake. Explain: who can be more popish than the pope?

One sad note, a lawmaker now who used to be among the star reporters of ABS-CBN was more worried about the lost of jobs of her kindred souls than the greater damage that its closure can do the country.

What if there is a quid pro quo proffered, say the government will take in all the 11,000 ABS-CBN employees in exchange for shutting down the network? Will that be a fair exchange.

Democracy may not be perfect, it is said, but the alternative is worse. Closing ABS-CBN will be choosing the alternative. Freedom of the press is democracy’s hallmarks. The Fourth Estate is indispensable in a free world.


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