Singer and ABS-CBN network mainstay Yeng Constantino issued a message straight to President Rodrigo Duterte today, putting on her best puppy-dog eyes to plead with Uncle Rody to reconsider his blocking of the renewal of the network’s franchise.
The singer-songwriter, who rose to fame after winning ABS-CBN’s pop-star bootcamp reality show “Pinoy Dream Academy” in 2006, told Showbiz website PEP in an on-the-spot interview today, that she was basically “born” at the network.
“I grew up here and [my career] thrived here,” she said in the interview. “And the thought that it could all go away is sad.”
Constantino’s plea comes as the fate of the network remains in flux. Its franchise is set to expire in March of 2020, and Duterte has carried a grudge against the station for a while, vowing to block its renewal and calling it a thief after it refused to run his 2016 campaign ads. House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, a Duterte ally, earlier this month said that he was hesitant to support the renewal of the franchise on personal grounds, and said there was “more than enough time” to discuss the renewal in the House early next year.
But Constantino spoke up for the network today, appealing to Duterte’s softer side (good luck) to save the station.
“I don’t know what’s right and wrong for you, and why it has come to this,” Constantino intoned ever so innocently. “But sir, I wish you would consider other artists who are working in this industry, like us, knocking at your heart[‘s door], hoping you won’t cut off our source of income.”
Constantino, who these days has graduated to judging singing competitions on It’s Showtime!, added that she doesn’t talk about the looming contract expiration with fellow ABS-CBN artists because “it’s such a heavy topic. It’s hard to talk about. When we get together, we’d like to talk about something light, instead.”
Speaking of hard talk: assuming ABS-CBN is shuttered, around 6,730 regular workers, 900 contract workers, and 3,325 on-air “talents” will lose their jobs.
Observers have also said that ABS-CBN is more than just a media company. Its newscasters and celebrities enjoy popularity all over the country thanks to its wide reach, enabling many to launch successful political careers. Newscaster Noli de Castro, for example, was a former vice president of the Philippines, while former reporters Loren Legarda and Sol Aragones have gone on to become congresswomen.
Correction: an earlier version of this article mentioned that Constantino won “Pinoy Dream Academy” in 2016, it’s been updated to reflect that it was in fact in 2006.