And so it has come to pass that Solicitor General Calida has filed a quo warranto petition asking the Supreme Court to nullify the franchise of ABS-CBN and, according to reports, its subsidiary, ABS-CBN Convergence, as well.

This proves without a doubt that this government is hellbent on using all its powers to shut down the broadcast network whose franchise renewal, now pending in Congress, President Rodrigo Duterte has personally vowed to block. So much so that it would risk trampling on Congress’ authority to legislate franchises.

We must not allow the vindictiveness of one man, no matter how powerful, to run roughshod over the constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of the press and of expression, and the people’s right to know.

We call on Congress and the Supreme Court to once and for all prove to the people that they are truly, as the Constitution envisions, independent and co-equal branches of government that are not at the beck and call of the executive.

We call on the community of independent Filipino journalists to close ranks around our colleagues in ABS-CBN.

We call on all Filipinos who cherish democracy to stand up and defend press freedom because this freedom belong to you.

This is not just about ABS-CBN. This is not just about the Philippine media. This is all about whether anyone can or should deprive you, the Filipino people, of your right to know.

National Directorate