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After leading the assault on press freedom by ensuring the partisan rejection of ABS-CBN’s bid for a franchise renewal, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano cannot escape culpability by merely intoning that the protagonists and the nation must “move forward”.

It would be extremely difficult for the country to instantly “move forward” in the grave aftermath of a premeditated attack on the freedom of the press and free expression without demanding full accountability from the perpetrators of the assault. 

Cayetano has divided and damaged the nation and his call for “moving forward” is a pathetic pretense.

While it is true that the legislature has the power to grant or deny a legislative franchise, such prerogative must not be abused by arbitrarily denying the grant or renewal of a franchise when the overriding factual and legal milieu evidently proves the applicant’s valid entitlement. 

Due to the inordinate alacrity by which the hastily constituted Technical Working Group (TWG) rendered its findings and recommendations, there is reason to believe that the TWG’s report was prepared beforehand for the TWG members’ assent. 

The TWG’s report recommending the denial of ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal is oozing with unmitigated bias, gross partiality and baseless conjectures as it unabashedly echoed the tirades of principal oppositors to the renewal of the network’s franchise.