On the ABS-CBN franchise issue, Loren Legarda showed moral cowardice
Congresswoman Loren Legarda of Antique, one of the deputy speakers of the House of Representatives and now a candidate for Senator, inhibited herself from voting on ABS-CBN’s application for a new franchise back in July 2020.
Legarda justified this by saying that she is merely avoiding conflict of interest, citing her ties to the network through her docu series “Dayaw” which was airing at that time over the ABS-CBN News Channel in partnership with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. She added that she actually filed a bill seeking a new 25-year broadcast franchise for her former network.
Legarda’s defense, which is similar to that of Congressman Alfred Vargas of Quezon City, is laughable considering that Congresswoman Sol Aragones of Laguna is one of the principal sponsors of the franchise renewal bill despite her being a former reporter for ABS-CBN. Meanwhile, veteran actress and Congresswoman Vilma Santos-Recto of Batangas was able to vote in favor of the network even if she has done movies under ABS-CBN’s movie arm Star Cinema.
It must be remembered that ABS-CBN is the network where Legarda made her name as a broadcast journalist during the 1980s and 1990s. That popularity propelled her to top the senatorial race in 1998 and 2007, and nearly catapulted her to the vice presidency in 2004.
Despite Legarda’s words of support for ABS-CBN, the fact remains that she was not there when her former home network needed her the most. She almost certainly did so to remain in the good graces of President Rodrigo Duterte in order to retain their political support. And her fealty seems to have paid off since she is included in the official senatorial slate of the so-called “Uni-team” of former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.