There can be no BBC in the Philippines
Billions and billions of pesos can be spent to install state of the art equipment to improve the government TV channel, PTV 4, or People’s Television, as is reportedly being done in Davao. But there can be no independent government broadcasting system in our beloved country.
Firstly, there was never any Philippine government that was ran in accordance with law. Indeed, ours has always been a government of men and not of laws. So when the strongest man around is whimsical in thinking then things are run by whim and caprice. By whim we mean that there are no sacred boundaries that should not be crossed. These include press freedom which should never be tampered with if democracy were to be maintained.
As pointed out here last week, then President Marcos cowed the Supreme Court to legitimize Martial Law. He did this systematically by testing first how strong the justices were in standing by their principles and he found out that they were so weak when it came to that. So he rightly concluded that bending them to his will by legitimizing Martial Law would be a piece of cake.
During that time, he did not have to manipulate the Congress for the congressmen and senators would be easy to deal with. He just closed down both houses of the legislature as he simultaneously arrested those who were not on his side.
Now, there would be no need for the President to cow the Supreme Court. Most of the justices there are his appointees. The congressmen as shown by how they conducted themselves in the proceedings for the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise, they would do anything, anytime to do the President’s bidding.
So a BBC? Any sitting President will readily order its closure if he got pissed off with it. Nobody would raise a whimper, not even by those supposed leaders of the institutions meant to counter-balance the President—the Supreme Court and the Congress.
How about the people? Generally, by nature, we the people are sycophants. Whoever is in power, we glorify him and would try to ingratiate ourselves to him. We also have the same attitude towards people with money even if it was obtained immorally or criminally.
An independent broadcasting system like the BBC can only survive where the people don’t allow their leaders to treat them like shit.**