The President’s oft-repeated claim that ABS-CBN swindled him of the money he paid for his political ads that was not aired was effectively debunked by the network’s President and CEO Carlo Katigbak during the Senate hearing last Monday.
Katigbak, cool and dignified, related what really happened:
"The President placed an order for P117 million worth of national ads, of which we aired all P117 million. In other words po, a hundred percent of the President’s ads which were ordered for national airing were accommodated and broadcast and aired by the station."
Katigbak said it was in the local ads placement that they encountered a problem because only two minutes of local ads can be aired in an hour and many spots were already ordered on May 3, 2016, four days before the last day of the campaign period.
"Our policy on all our ads is first come, first served. There had been many previous telecast orders that came in ahead of the President's telecast order," he explained.
Of the almost P7 million worth of unaired ads, around P4 million was initially refunded and accepted by the Duterte campaign group, Katigbak said.
He said there was a delay in the refund of the remaining P2.6 million and when they finally sent the refund, it "was no longer accepted by the President."
"On this issue, we acknowledge our shortcoming in our failure to release the refund in a timely manner," the CEO said.
With the President’s lies debunked, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go said, it’s not the “non”return of his payment of the unaired ads that was the root of Duterte’s anger at ABS-CBN.
It was the airing of an ad that they considered damaging to the then leading presidential candidate.
It was the ad placed by then Senator Antonio Trillanes IV—who was running for vice president in the 2016 elections.
It was a powerful ad featuring young boys and girl reacting to Duterte’s statements.
To a video clip where Duterte was saying “Patayin ko kayong lahat (I will kill you all),” the boy said “Mali po ang pumatay (It’s wrong to kill).”
To Duterte’s cursing of the Pope, a girl asked, “Tama ba murahin ang Santo Papa? (Is it right to curse the Pope?)”
To Duterte’s remark that he would have wanted to have been the first one to rape the Australian missionary, a girl said, “Mali po mambastos ng babae (It’s wrong to disrespect women .”
The same political ad was also aired in another TV station.
A day after TV stations began airing the ad, Duterte’s running mate Alan Peter Cayetano was able to get a restraining order from a court in Taguig city, where the Cayetano family is a political power.
Go said Duterte was hurt by the ad which was aired in the last few weeks before election.
"Nasaktan ang presidente, nababoy ang president (The President was hurt, he felt he was disrespected). Hindi vindictive ang pangulo (The President is not vindictive) but someone clearly went overboard with the airing of this black propaganda,” said the senator, who continues to act as the President’s aide and oftentimes spokesperson.
In a statement, Trillanes said, "Duterte/Bong Go’s assertion that the airing of my advertisement is the reason why the ABS-CBN franchise should not be renewed is a lie. First, there’s nothing illegal about the ad itself and the airing of the ad. Second, the same political ad was aired in GMA7 and yet Duterte never complained about it when its franchise was renewed. So, definitely there is another ulterior motive in the blocking of ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal.”
(Editor's note: GMA retracted what its official testified before the Senate public services committee. Click here for story)
The ad can be viewed on You Tube.
Watch and judge it for yourself.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.