ABS-CBN Rank and File Employees Union president Jon Villanueva said the attacks came from bots and fake accounts and used obscenities, cuss words and repetitive names as user names.
Miguel De Guzman, file
Union groups decry sabotage of ABS-CBN franchise renewal petition
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - May 25, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The ABS-CBN Rank and File Employees’ Union and the ABS-CBN Supervisory Employees’ Union yesterday denounced what they described as a massive attack by trolls to sabotage an online signature campaign to bring the country’s top broadcast network back on air.

ABS-CBN Rank and File Employees Union president Jon Villanueva said the attacks came from bots and fake accounts and used obscenities, cuss words and repetitive names as user names.

“We are cleaning up our database right now and will relaunch with proper security to prevent another attack. We will not give up because we are fighting for our family, for our children and their future,” Villanueva said.

He added that the online attack suggests an organized effort by those seeking to permanently shutter ABS-CBN.

“Nakakalungkot malaman na may mga grupo o tao na nais siraan o gawing ’di kapani-paniwala ang aming petisyon (It is saddening me to know that there are groups or people that put down or make our petition unbelievable),” Villanueva said.

“Napakahalaga po sa aming 11,000 o higit pang manggagawa ng ABS-CBN ang apela na ito (This appeal is very important to us 11,000 or more employees of ABS-CBN),” he added.

Thousands of employees of ABS-CBN initiated the signature campaign (https://bit.ly/3bTj1wV.) on May 22 to call on members of the House of Representatives to pass a law renewing the network’s franchise.

ABS-CBN Supervisory Employees’ Union president Raul de Asis thanked the public for supporting their initiative and appealed to detractors to respect their right to express their sentiments.

“Our intentions are clean in conducting this online petition. To those who are discrediting us, please do not sabotage the efforts of the people working in ABS-CBN,” De Asis said.

ABS-CBN went off air on May 5, after the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) issued a cease-and-desist order in spite of its previous promise under oath to lawmakers that it would grant the network a provisional authority.

ABS-CBN has said it may have to start retrenching employees by August if it fails to get a new or provisional franchise.

While President Duterte has been very vocal about his stand against ABS-CBN, he has allowed members of Congress – at least, as far as the House of Representatives is concerned – to do their job without any intervention.

“I can tell you and look you in the eyes na ang ano sa akin ni Presidente (that the President’s advice to me) is just be fair. Bahala kayo diyan (It’s your call),” Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano told reporters in a chance interview over the weekend, referring to the TV giant’s May 5 shutdown and the House’s committee hearings.

“The President has never told me to grant or not grant anything, and kung titingnan mo ang attitude ng Presidente – sa confirmation sa mga secretary – kung anong teritoryo ng Kongreso, sa Kongreso iyan (if you will look at the attitude of the President – in the confirmation to the secretaries – what Congress’ territory is, it’s Congress’),” Cayetano added, in reference to confirmation hearings.

The powerful bicameral body Commission on Appointments is composed of members of the Senate and the House, which functions as a screening panel for members of the President’s Cabinet and many other presidential appointees who need congressional vetting process.

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