Embattled but untamed

    114

    THE respected poet, playwright, journalist and activist Pete Lacaba was nearly stunned by the large turnout of friends during the fund-raising program for him last Friday at a popular bakeshop on Kamuning St. in Quezon City. Most were former UP activists, scholars, fellow artists, professors and deans who had shared with Lacaba their fiery yearnings of a bygone past. The amazing Noel Cabangon and the captivating Cookie Chua headed the list of committed artists and celebrities who paid tribute to Lacaba and his zealous work for the country.

    Leftist militants departed from their Catholic and Christian upbringing as they pursued national activism founded on the ungodly Marxist-Leninist doctrines. To many of them, Christianity had been a tool of US imperialists and their local lapdogs in the military and in the industrial sector to foster subservience to a corrupt and oppressive government which they have long vowed to bring down.

    That night, no one seemed ready to welcome the opening prayer which I volunteered to lead as the sea of faces still looked distraught as in the dark days of the underground struggle, at once reminded of a faith that had let them down.

    I reintroduced God as the Creator of heavens and earth, as well as the mountains, the hills and the valleys which had become the militants’ and the NPA rebels’ abode and shelter for many years.

    Many started staring at men intently as if it was unfair for me to make them revisit what they endured that took them away from their homes. And I spoke of God who cost Him nothing in creating all these, and of the universe which He created from nothing. But it cost him so much – almost everything – to send His only Begotten Son, Jesus, into this world to save our souls. And then, with their heads bowed I started to pray for God to come into their lives. God banished my self-righteous thought that the Holy Spirit could not dwell in the room because of the indifference and disbelief in faith. I was led to pray for Lacaba’s physical healing from his various ailments, but many somehow had to visibly struggle with the prayer as one assembly coming before God together and agreeing with another for Lacaba’s relief and recovery.

    ***

    President Duterte probably thinks that ABS-CBN’s pending franchise renewal will render the huge embattled network a “tamed hostage.”The public outcry has so far been heavily hostile to the administration while the media backlash from the entire broadcast industry has become overwhelming that Malacanang may never recover from the huge political damage it has brought upon itself.

    ABS-CBN’s nemesis has turned out to be the target of a massive and blistering media war room. The President should probably convince his favored crony Dennis Uy, with his billions, to organize and spearhead a national PR campaign. Speaker Allan Cayetano has virtually called out the Supreme Court to recognize that ABS-CBN has not broken any of its franchise conditions and that any decision on the quo warranto petition would not necessarily cover its operations before the projected renewal of its franchise. What he really intended was send a strong warning to the high court that it would be encroaching on Congress on its constitutional mandate to exclusively grant and renew any broadcast franchise since any upcoming renewal now pertains to the continued operations of ABS-CBN as buttressed by its reputable and unquestionable record of adherence to the network’s lawful agreement with government.

    The Senate and the House of Representatives are standing their ground – with Cayetano himself espousing in no uncertain terms – that ABS-CB is virtually in the clear since it has not violated any of the franchise provisions for renewal by Congress. More than the majority of the SC justices now realize that the ball is indeed with the lower house prompting it to defer hearings on the quo warranto to April this year.