ABS-CBN president Carlo Katigbak apologized to President Rodrigo Duterte for failing to air his campaign ad in the last few days of the 2016 presidential campaign.
But Katigbak is standing firm on ABS-CBN’s decision to run then vice presidential bet Antonio Trillanes’ negative ad against Duterte which Senator Bong Go called as nothing but black propaganda and not meant to promote any candidate.
In the Senate hearing, Katigbak cited three reasons why ABS-CBN’s ethics board approved the airing of the anti-Duterte ad. Katigbak said: “Under the Fair Election Act, all lawful election propaganda shall include any broadcast of election propaganda for or against any candidate. That to us first reason why our internal committee gave greenlight to air the ad.”
“Unlike the first version (of the ad) we rejected because children were performing inappropriate actions,the revised version of the ad showed the children merely asking questions. So we felt it did not violate our internal policies,” he said.
“Under KBP (Kapisanan ng mga Broadcaster ng Pilipinas), we are required not to discriminate against candidate. Any candidate with ads that are legitimate must be accommodated,” he said.
Katigbak said the only reason why Duterte’s ad was not aired was because of the limited minutes for campaign ads – 19 minutes per hour for national broadcast, and two minutes per hour for local or specific areas.
Katigbak said while ABS-CBN aired all of Duterte’s order for national ads worth P117 million, it only aired P58 million worth of ads out of the P65 million Duterte ordered for local broadcast.
“Our policy is first come, first served. Many of these spots were ordered May 3 and May 7 was the last day of the campaign period.Many previous telecast orders came in ahead of the President. Of the P7 million not aired, we refunded P4 million to the President and this was accepted. We were delayed in refunding P2.6 million which was no longer accepted by the President,” he said.
“We acknowledge our shortcoming in our failure to release the refund in timely manner.We corrected that in 2019.If the ad is not aired, the check should be back to client in seven days,” he added
Katigbak could only offer apologies to the President which has used the issue as the basis for seeking to shut down the franchise.
“At the end of the whole discussion, we’re sorry if we offended the President that is not the intention of the network. We felt that we were just abiding the rules and regulations surrounding the airing of political ads… ABS-CBN does not and will not have its own political agenda,” he said.