MANILA, Philippines, February 20 ------ Sen. Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa on Wednesday lashed back at radio DJ Czarina Balba, popularly known on MOR 101.9 as DJ Chacha, for saying he should just resign if he will just follow President Rodrigo Duterte's stand when voting on the renewal of ABS-CBN's legislative franchise. Dela Rosa was a Philippine National Police chief and then head of the Bureau of Corrections before being elected to the upper chamber of Congress in May 2019. “Mali ba ang maging loyal sa isang duly-elected president who is after the welfare of his people and who is willing [to] confront the oligarchs who had been bastardizing this country for so long a time?” the senator said on Wednesday in a message to reporters.
Whether the media network’s operations will continue after the franchise expires after March 30 is still in question, with just a little over a month left for Congress to pass the required legislation. "Sabihan mo si DJ Chacha baka ang alam lang nya ay mag-chacha," the senator, who goes by the nickname "Bato", said. In a chance interview with the media on Tuesday, Bato said that he will vote according to Duterte's stance when it comes to the franchise renewal issue. "As I said, I will live and die with President Duterte. I will sink and swim with him,” he said. DJ Chacha, however, was not having any of it. “I suggest mag-resign na dapat si Senator Bato sa pagiging senador at mag-apply na Bodyguard ng Presidente tutal naman ang loyalty niya ay sa Pangulo at hindi sa taong bayan,” the radio jock posted online Wednesday.
The Senate will hold a hearing on ABS-CBN's franchise renewal and its alleged violations on Monday, February 24. Broadcast companies, including radio and television networks, in the Philippines are required to seek a congressional franchise from Congress under Republic Act 3846. A legislative franchise bill needs to be approved by the House of Representatives before it is transmitted to the Senate. The version of the bill approved by both chambers would then still need the president’s approval. Duterte, however, has repeatedly criticized ABS-CBN and stated that he is determined to block the renewal of its franchise. “Ang inyong franchise mag-end next year. If you are expecting na ma-renew 'yan, I'm sorry. You're out. I will see to it that you're out,” the president said in December 2019.