Human rights lawyer Atty. Jose Manuel "Chel" Diokno believes that a proposed people's initiative to revive ABS-CBN Corp.'s franchise bid is feasible for the network and its supporters.
"Usually mahirap talaga makuha ang people's initiative, pero ABS-CBN is in a very unique position na kaya niyang isulong ang people's initiative and referendum," Diokno said in an interview on TeleRadyo.
Diokno said the legislative exercise requires the signature of at least 10 percent of the total voting population in the country.
"Palagay natin na 65 million registered voters sa buong Pilipinas, so kailangan natin ng 6.5 million ng registered voters," he explained.
"Tingin ko kaya 'yun given yung reach ng ABS-CBN, nandyan ang celebrities at iba't ibang istasyon sa buong Pilipinas."
Another requirement to make the initiative effective is that the petition should gather signatures from at least 3 percent of the voting population per district.
"We have 243 districts now, by 2022 baka umabot 247 distrito iyan. Dapat sa bawat distrito may 3% ang pipirma ng petition," said Diokno.
He said previous attempts to craft a law via people's initiative were not successful because those who initiated the efforts lacked support and machinery.
"Pero sa tingin ko kaya iyan sa isyu ng prangkisa ng ABS-CBN... Maganda ito kasi mismong taumbayan ang gumagawa ng batas. Palagay ko panahon na iyan na mayroon tayong ganyan," the former senatorial candidate added.
The move to revive ABS-CBN's franchise bid via people's initiative was proposed by lawyer Enrique de la Cruz after the House panel killed the network's efforts to secure a fresh 25-year franchise.
The House legislative franchise committee on Friday junked ABS-CBN's franchise bid in a 70-11 vote, fulfilling President Rodrigo Duterte's oft-repeated promise to yank the network off the air.
"Ang nararamdaman ko sa mga kongresista na parang takot silang maparusahan kapag iba ang boto nila. There's a lot of political pressure, feeling ko, kaya ganoon ang nangyari," said Diokno.
"Kaya lang alam naman natin na dapat 'yung mga nandyan sa House of Representatives sanay na sila dyan at ang tungkulin nila ay manindigan para sa bayan."