ABS-CBN President and CEO Carlo Lopez Katigbak attends the Senate inquiry on the compliance of the broadcast network's compliance with the terms and conditions of its franchise.
The STAR/Mong Pintolo
ABS-CBN 'grateful' for Duterte's acceptance of apology
(Philstar.com) - February 27, 2020 - 4:01pm

MANILA, Philippines — ABS-CBN said it is “grateful and humbled” by President Rodrigo Duterte’s acceptance of their apology over his unaired 2016 elections campaign advertisement.

Duterte said Wednesday that he accepts the apology of ABS-CBN CEO Carlo Katigbak at a Senate hearing earlier this week.

Katigbak told the Senate panel looking into allegations against the network: “We’re sorry if we offended the president, that was not the intention of the network.”

The president’s ire for the media company can be traced back to his comments on these advertisements during his electoral campaign in 2016.

Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go, former aide of Duterte and his de facto spokesman, scolded the network during the Senate hearing for airing what he branded as “black propaganda” against the president, paid by former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.

Duterte told reporters Wednesday that he “accept[s] the apology, of course.”

He also told the network to just donate the P2.6 million that ABS-CBN tried to return him for the unaired ads. The money is part of around P7 million that the network tried to refund him. A previous tranche was accepted.

ABS-CBN said it will coordinate with Duterte’s office “as it relates to his guidance on donating the refund to a charitable institution.”

The media giant also “committed to becoming a better organization and to continue to provide more meaningful service to Filipinos.”

Franchise woes

Bills calling for the renewal of ABS-CBN’s legislative franchise, that will expire on May 4, remain pending before the House of Representatives.

The House Committee on Legislative Franchise urged the National Telecommunications Commission to grant  the network with provisional authority to continue operating past the expiry of its legislative franchise.

At a Senate hearing earlier this week, the NTC said that this was done for other franchisees in the past, although NTC Commissoner Gamaliel Cordoba pointed out that those franchisees did not face opposition.

"We enjoin you to grant ABS-CBN Corp. a provisional authority to operate effective May 4, 2020 until such time that the House of Representatives or Congress has made a decision on its application,” Rep. Franz Alvarez (Palawan), panel chair, said in a letter addressed to Cordoba.

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano (Taguig)—who has said the media company has played favorites during election campaigns—concurred with the request.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra earlier said that the Congress may direct the NTC to issue a provisional authority to ABS-CBN so it can operate, pending Congress resolution on bills calling for its renewal.  Kristine Joy Patag with reports from Gaea Katreena Cabico


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