ABS-CBN FRANCHISE DENIAL
Lawmakers commit 'disservice' when they vote based on popularity —DefensorBy ERWIN COLCOL,GMA News
Anakalusugan party-list Representative Mike Defensor believes that it is a "disservice" on the part of any lawmaker to vote for an issue just because it is popular even as it is riddled with irregularities.
Defensor made the remark on Tuesday after a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey revealed that three out of four Filipinos were in favor of granting ABS-CBN another franchise.
In an interview with CNN Philippines, Defensor maintained that the duty of the lawmakers is to look into the franchise application of a private company, and to see if ABS-CBN complied with the Constitution and other related laws and regulations.
"So for me, they can talk about popularity, but that popularity and those things about surveys are a different matter altogether. I think it's [a] disservice for any congressman or for any senator to vote for something that they found wrong but because it is popular, they would still do so," he said.
"You would be remiss and you would be negligent of your duty as a congressman or a senator," he added.
According to the SWS survey, 75% of those polled were in favor of Congress renewing ABS-CBN's franchise, and 56% considered a non-renewal a major blow to press freedom.
The survey was taken from July 3 to 6 as the House of Representatives debated the renewal of the franchise but before the July 10 vote by the Committee on Legislative Franchises which denied the application.
Defensor said he does not know how the survey was conducted nor the questions asked.
He maintained, however, that "you fail as a leader if you always do what is popular."
This is despite lawmakers, especially members of the House, are deemed representatives of the people.
"I don't see a situation where every time there's a national question, or a question that should be discussed in Congress that you go back to your people and ask what would be your sentiment on this," Defensor said.
"The question for us is there is an application and our duty is to look into the application," he added.
A total of 70 members of the House franchise committee voted to adopt the resolution of the technical working group it created recommending the denial of ABS-CBN's franchise application.
Network executives said they were saddened by the decision.
ABS-CBN went off the air on May 5 after the National Telecommunications Commission issued a cease and desist order against the network following the expiry of the network's franchise the day before. —KG, GMA News