Open letter to the members of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises
The CBCP Episcopal Commission on Social Communications, together with the Filipino people, watched and listened intently to all the 12 hearings held by the House Committee on Legislative Franchises of the Philippine Congress. And now the final verdict on the future of the ABS-CBN Media Network depends on the votes of the honorable men and women of the 18th Congress of the Philippines. Their votes will affect, not only the network’s future, but also all those who depend on ABS-CBN for their livelihood, the millions who depend on it for their news and information, and even those who consider it their daily leisure and temporary escape from the daily grind of their ordinary lives.
We continue to express our position on ABS-CBN, as well as our belief in the importance of its role as a vital source of information in the Philippine society. The network forms part of the whole Philippine democratic landscape as it continues to help in making the latest news available to Filipinos in the country and abroad, and contributes to the people’s capacity to make informed decisions.
After having listened to the many deliberations during the 12 hearings, we have come to the conclusion that the unbiased and impartial pronouncements and official manifestations of the different resource speakers from various government agencies did not only answer the accusations against the network, but also proved that the network has not violated any law, rule or regulation that would be reason enough not to grant the renewal of their franchise.
Be that as it may, it is not our intention to pressure you, our honorable lawmakers, to vote for the approval of the renewal of the franchise of ABS-CBN. The only thing that we humbly ask of you is that you vote according to your conscience and do what you truly believe is right.
We are aware that there is so much more at stake here than the mere approval of a network franchise. We take to heart the words of the chairman of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises, who, in his closing statement said, “…As our speaker has always reminded us to do what is right, let us continue to live up to the commitment of the 18th Congress to be a relevant, responsible and responsive institution… As we ask that our members be continuously guided by the principles of fairness, justice, honesty and respect, and we cast our final vote on the issue, we shall all vote according to our conscience.”
We pray for the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, to guard all our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus! (Phil 4:7)
Chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Social Communications
9 July 2020