Shifting the pressure

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    WHEN asked about his issues with ABS-CBN, Speaker Alan Cayetano said he could not yet convey his angst with the huge network although he has long known to be consistent with President Duterte’s intent of closing it down or bringing it to its knees.

    Cayetano was interviewed Monday afternoon by Gerry Baja and Anthony Taberna on DZMM. He could not explain credibly why the franchise renewal application has been delayed for several years at the House, and especially so now that he’s the speaker. He said three related bills had languished during President Noynoy Aquino’s time and that he could not possibly attend to it due to the speakership brawl that marked the start of his term as speaker.

    He said that inviting ABS-CBN executives to the first committee hearing on the renewal of the franchise will turn it into a circus; in more ways than one, Cayetano will be unable to manage the heated exchanges between the majority and minority congressmen going after each others’ throat over the franchise imbroglio. He went on to mock in jest the non-renewal lead dissenters, Congressmen Edzel Lagman and Lito Aitenza who he believes can do very well as villains in the highly-popular Channel 2 teleserye “Ang Probinsyano.” The two have repeatedly pounced on Cayetano and the committee on legislative franchise with hardly any substantial or worthwhile rebuttal.

    The big regret of Cayetano was failing to contain the public outcry against the possible closure of the network due to his inability to control the loud noises in the chamber. Today, he has skillfully put the pressure on the National Telecommunications Commission to issue ABS-CBN a provisional authority. He politely reminded the NTC that since only Congress is allowed by law to issue and renew broadcast franchises, it should take this cue that NTC is subservient to Congress on this matter.

    Citing a few TV newscasts on ABS-CBN Cayetano turned to what he said was the obvious preference for Vice Presidential candidate Leny Robredo over Bongbong Marcos, another vice presidential candidate in 2016. Most broadcast networks have exercised their editorial independence through the years but not too diligently, occasionally constrained by business and political interests. But Cayetano can hardly dwell in the dark and tragic experience of the Lopez family and ABS-CBN without recognizing the intense social and political stigma the clan had endured under the Marcos dictatorship. No one can diminish the fact that ABS-CBN has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with other media pillars in the entire media news industry against the plunderers of this nation.

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    No one could really explain how all eight passengers of the ill-fated helicopter had survived a crash in San Pedro, Laguna last Thursday. Only two were seriously injured – Major Generals Jovic Ramos and Mariel Magaway. PNP chief Archie Gamboa and PNP spokesman Brig. General Bernie Banac both sustained light injuries and were discharged from the hospital the day and two days after, respectively.

    The new Belle helicopter was a total wreck and people could not believe that anyone had survived. Banac is a strong Biblical believer and teacher and knew that it was not luck that saved him and the others from almost certain death. But he is heavily indebted to Ramos who is still at the ICU of the Asian Hospital and Medical Center. Right before take-off, Ramos had asked Banac, who was already seated by the window, to move to the middle while he took the window seat because “it was cooler there.” The chopper crashed on the side of Ramos and pinned him on the head and chest.

    Banac’s thoughts went back to the “miracle” at the Hudson River when a passenger plane was forced to crashland on it after a sudden bird attack had disabled both engines of the aircraft. The pilot, Capt. Shullenburger,” had only about four minutes to divert to a nearby airport. He could not find any but safely landed the plane on the Hudson. All 180 passengers were rescued before the Airbus finally sank into the river.

    The extraordinary incident inspired the movie “Miracle at the Hudson” that starred Tom Hanks but nowhere was shown any single manifest presence of or a testimony for God, the Miracle-Worker. As it turned out, two war veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan were aboard the ill-fated plane. They had four bloody clashes with Islamic terrorists but they, along with their company, had survived incredibly without a scratch. They were Christian believers who had long ago embraced the powerful prayer of Psam 91 in the Bible.

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