[Requested by Ian Santos]
AS THE SAGA of Mother Ignacia’s reckoning continues with less than seven weeks until their Congressional franchise expires, Solicitor General Jose Calida filed a quo warranto petition against ABS-CBN yesterday to the Supreme Court personally by wheels.
He claimed that they had some foreign ownership (which is completely forbidden under the Constitution) through Philippine depositary receipts (PDRs) — the same reason he pitted against Rappler two years ago.
We have heard that Latin legal term when Maria Lourdes Sereno was ousted from being Chief Justice and lost the official ordinal numbering back in 2018 over her Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) — the same document that had her predecessor, Renato Corona, impeached and convicted. However, the quo warranto can also affect corporations since they are defined as a “juridical person” in our Civil Code.
During the running stint as the principal lawyer of the country, Calida accomplished over other pivotal, political events: the arrest of Sen. Leila de Lima, Marcos’ burial in Libingan ng mga Bayani and the extension of Martial Law in Mindanao after the battle in Marawi.
So what will happen if the Court heeds the call (despite the legal experts’ thought of outright dismissal)?
With the Supreme Court being majority appointed by the sitting President, it should not be a surprise if their handed decision is to void the franchise (or further, the corporate existence) of ABS-CBN before March 30 and the subsequent motion of reconsideration is quashed.
Should that happen, the deliberations in Congress regarding their specific renewal would be moot and moved onward with other businesses. The endeavors of the digital television transition could, therefore, be delayed or be mooted since it leaps onward to video-on-demand streaming. Aside from the hypothetical, individual scenarios, competitors might have to kowtow to their policies without questioning until the next presidential election or further, if the President’s anointed one (whoever that is) gets elected.
Ordinary citizens are powerless in fighting with the bad system and/or people that come into play. In addition, our collective short attention spans that hinder our remembrance are not helpful at all — putting it on ourselves to the permanent, stagnant mindset that we are labeled by the rest of the world today. That’s how we voted for and we kept it with pride: when a person does not like something because he is not doing a good job and refuses to accept constructive criticism, it becomes a permanent public policy and leaves a significant mark that will last beyond their term.
That being said, Calida is part of the planner of revenge against President Duterte’s pettiness against perceived enemies — be it from the strong persons in the opposition or from the institutions whose primary job is to be held accountable with their dealings as public servants.
When his coterminous term ends in 2022 alongside the appointer, his decisions, including this one, will definitely be a part of the real legacy of this administration (not the ones set up by the PCOO that was failed to be defended further — oh wait, wrong network!). However, the reversibility of any damage done will take more than one term to recover after leaving but as we said about attention spans, such things will become permanent into the history books.
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Photo courtesy of The Philippine Star (philstar.com)