Militant women’s alliance GABRIELA has deplored President Rodrigo Duterte’s attempt to shut down giant network ABS-CBN through a quo warranto petition filed by the Solicitor General before the Supreme Court.
“We take this not only as an attack on ABS-CBN as a media institution but a link in a long chain of systematic attacks of the current administration against the exercise of the rights and freedoms of the Filipino people,” said Gabriela in a statement.
Gabriela said stifling free speech and silencing the free press has always been a hallmark of a tyrannical regime.
They said, since assuming the Presidency, Duterte has mounted systematic campaigns by mobilizing government resources such as the Solicitor General’s Office to suppress the media, go after political opponents, and target political activists critical of his administration.
The quo warranto petition is Duterte’s dictatorial hand putting a guarantee that ABS-CBN will be intimidated and cowered into silence despite the results of a legislative re-franchising process already set in motion, they said.
To the tyrannical Duterte, it does not matter if thousands of workers and talents of ABS-CBN will lose their jobs if the media institution is shut down, Gabriela said.
It does not matter if there will be one less media organization keeping the public informed of government actions, they said.
It does not matter that there is presidential abuse of power, that the choice of what and who to report and expose is wrested away from the press, they said.
“But it does matter to the people. We rise and stand with ABS-CBN because we rise and stand with a free press, with upholding the people’s right to know and be informed of government actions, with a democracy that is not hijacked by a tyrant in Malacanang,” Gabriela said./Stacy Ang