ABS-CBN apologizes to Duterte for not airing campaign ad in 2016

Marje Pelayo

MANILA, Philippines – Network giant ABS-CBN expressed its apology to President Rodrigo Duterte for failing to air then-presidential candidate Mayor Duterte’s campaign ad in 2016.

During the Senate hearing on Monday (February 24), the network’s president and CEO Carlo Katigbak explained why they couldn’t air some of Duterte’s campaign ads.

He explained that though the President’s camp bought and paid a total of P182-M in commercial spots, they were limited by the network’s airtime requirement.

The said amount was split into two – P117-M for national ads and P65-M for local ads.

Katigbak said all of Duterte’s national ads were aired; however, they couldn’t find airtime for Duterte’s local ads since they were limited to just two minutes per hour.

“Our policy on all our ads is first-come, first-served. Many of these spots were ordered on May 3, and May 7 was the last day of the campaign period. There had been many previous telecast orders that came in ahead,” the network executive said.

He added that the network refunded some P4-M to the President, though some P2.6-M were delayed which the President’s camp refused to accept.

Senator Christopher Go, who was the President’s special aide at that time, shared some images of the check of the refunded amount.

President Duterte had ranted about his unaired campaign ads with ABS-CBN on several public occasions in dismay of the network.

Despite this, ABS-CBN maintained it has not committed a violation against the franchise law contrary to the claims of Solicitor General Jose Calida in his filed quo warranto petition against the Kapamilya network before the Supreme Court (SC).

Katigbak insisted that though they admit some lapses on their part of the operation, they stand by their commitment to provide service to the Filipino people and vowed to rectify all mistakes committed.

“We acknowledge our shortcomings in our failure to release that refund in a timely manner,” he said.

“We are sorry if we offended the President. That was not the intention of the network. We felt that we were just abiding by the laws and regulations that surround the airing of political ads,” he said. MNP (with inputs from Harlene Delgado)

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