Mong Palatino

Blogging about the Philippines and the Asia-Pacific since 2004


@mongster is a Manila-based activist, former Philippine legislator, and blogger/analyst of Asia-Pacific affairs.

Published by Bayan Metro Manila

After passing the Terror Bill which President Rodrigo Duterte recently signed into law, Congress voted to reject the franchise application of ABS-CBN.

Duterte is the chief executioner spreading hate, fear, divisiveness, and misery in the country; but Congress proved to be a willing partner in legitimizing the suppression of civil liberties.

Duterte and Congress exploited the distraction and disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in maneuvering the hasty passage of measures that undermine constitutionally-guaranteed rights and freedoms.

The Terror Law represents the biggest threat because of its draconian provisions which could outrightly criminalize all forms of dissent.

Meanwhile, shutting down the country’s largest TV and radio broadcaster is part of a sinister plot to run roughshod over citizens demanding accountability from the government.

For Duterte and his cabal, enforcing a brutal legal instrument will be hindered if there is consistent public scrutiny. Media coverage could put into spotlight the human rights abuses and other excesses committed by state forces. Thus, the rejection of ABS CBN’s franchise bid. ‘Kill’ ABS-CBN and create a chilling effect in the media sector.

Dictators and press freedom cannot co-exist peacefully. The dictator Duterte is on a rampage convicting critical journalists, attacking independent media, and shutting down a major broadcaster.

It is infuriating that instead of performing checks and balances in the government, Congress is abetting the rise of authoritarianism. These legislators willfully betrayed their constituents by promoting Duterte’s nefarious agenda at the expense of the people’s right to information. They will face voter backlash and people’s outrage for their decision to switch off a major symbol of media freedom in the country.

We have no recourse other than to continue resisting tyranny whether in the courts or in the streets. We will continue to defend free speech in offline and online spaces. We will defy Duterte’s terror regime. The people will prevail. Laban kapamilya!

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