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Cayetano to Poe, Robredo on ABS-CBN decision: ‘Chill lang tayo’

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House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Tuesday chided Sen. Grace Poe and Vice President Leni Robredo over their remarks criticizing the House legislative franchise committee’s 70-11 vote to deny ABS-CBN’s application for a franchise.

In a Facebook post, the Taguig lawmaker asked Poe and Robredo to reread the decision of the House committee on legislative franchises before making their judgment.

“I agree with Sen. Grace Poe that the denial of the Lopez’s franchise application for ABSCBN sets a precedent. And it is precisely the precedent we want to make – that the House of Representatives will never tolerate anyone, including oligarchs, who will abuse the system and cheat both the government and our people. So that this is clear, I ask that she please read the Committee’s findings and the decision,” he said.

Cayetano noted that both Robredo and Poe warned of the “chilling” effect this will have on journalists and the freedom of expression.

“This is completely false,” he said.

“Again, I invite both the Vice President and our good Senator to read the decision, rewatch the the hearings, and maybe come to understand that not breaking the law is not the same as obeying it,” Cayetano said.

He said the only “chilling effect” the denial has was on those who would abuse the system and hold cavalier attitudes towards our laws, and even the Philippine Constitution.

“As a point of comparison, the GMA and TV5 franchises – as well as hundreds more – where approved without a hitch. That is because their exercise of the freedom of speech and of the Press, was never employed to mask the corporate practices of their owners that screwed the system and our people – to the tune of billions of pesos,” he said.

“While the newscast of their journalists were as feisty as ABSCBN – and in my case, even feistier at times – their owners did not violate election laws nor sought to play Kingmaker, or Kingslayer,” Cayetano said.

He said he hoped to continue to have meaningful dialogues about the matter.

“Hopefully with these dialogues, and after reading the report, we can give and take from each other those missing pieces that make our vision complete. Malayo pa po ang ating lalakbayin, and as we journey together, it is always best to remember – chill lang tayo,” he said.

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