Palace: Up to ABS-CBN where to donate remaining refund for unaired Duterte ads
Photo shows a copy of the refund check that ABS-CBN Corp. gave President Rodrigo Duterte for the remainder of P7 million in ads that the network failed to air. Network CEO Carlo Katigbak said that "of P65 million worth of spots [that Duterte bought], we failed to air P7 million worth."
The STAR/Geremy Pintolo
Palace: Up to ABS-CBN where to donate remaining refund for unaired Duterte ads
Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - February 27, 2020 - 8:02pm

MANILA, Philippines — There is no need for ABS-CBN to seek guidance from President Rodrigo Duterte on donating the money he spent for a campaign ad that did not air, saying the chief executive has allowed the network to choose the charity that would benefit from it, Malacañang said Thursday.

During a Senate hearing last Monday, ABS-CBN president and chief executive officer Carlo Katigbak apologized to Duterte if he was offended by the airing of an ad that questioned his moral integrity as presidential candidate in 2016.

Katigbak also vowed to improve on the network's shortcomings after Duterte and other senators complained about their campaign ads that failed to air.

Last Wednesday, Duterte said he accepted the apology of the network but maintained that it would be up to Congress to decide whether to renew ABS-CBN's franchise, which is set to expire in May.

The president also said there is no need for ABS-CBN to refund the money it owes him for not airing his commercial, saying the amount should just be donated to charity.

ABS-CBN said it was grateful and humbled by the president's acceptance of its apology and vowed to coordinate with Duterte's office for his guidance on donating the refund to a charitable organization.

But presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said ABS-CBN has been given the authority to choose which group would receive the refund.

"In the first place, there is no need for guidance. The president has already given them blanket authority, just donate it to you favorite charitable organization," Panelo said at a press briefing.

"So there is no need for guidance. In other words, they (ABS-CBN) have been given the discretion to choose," he added.

The fate of ABS-CBN hangs in the balance as the House of Representatives, which is dominated by allies of Duterte, has yet to hold a hearing on bills renewing its franchise.

The Office of the Solicitor General has also asked the Supreme Court to revoke the franchises of ABS-CBN Corp. and its subsidiary ABS-CBN Convergence, Inc., accusing "highly abusive practices" and going beyond the scope of it franchise by broadcasting for a fee.

ABS-CBN has denied any wrongdoing and maintained that all its broadcast offerings have been approved by government regulators.

ABS-CBN CORPORATION ABS-CBN FRANCHISE RODRIGO DUTERTE
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