Go to ask Duterte to reconsider stand on ABS-CBN franchise renewal

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 24 2020 03:44 PM | Updated as of Feb 24 2020 04:15 PM

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte chats with Senator Christopher "Bong" Go during the ceremonial signing of the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2020 at the Malacañan Palace on January 6, 2020. Rey Baniquet, Presidential Photo


MANILA - Sen. Christopher 'Bong' Go on Monday said he would "appeal" to President Rodrigo Duterte to reconsider his stand on the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN Corp., noting that 11,000 jobs may be at stake should the Philippines' leading media and entertainment company cease operations when its license to operate expires in May. 

Go earlier told a Senate panel that Duterte was "hurt" after ABS-CBN aired a "black propaganda" ad — paid by former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV — against him a few days before the 2016 presidential elections.

"I will appeal to him for a simple reason na ayaw ko may mawalan ng trabaho. Bahala na siya. It's his decision," Go told reporters when asked what he will advise the President after attending a Senate inquiry on the media network's alleged franchise violations.

Go, who worked as Duterte's decades-long aide before he was elected senator in 2019, said he would accept ABS-CBN president and chief executive officer Carlo L. Katigbak's apology, but added that he could not speak for the President.

"Ako hindi ako nagtatanim ng galit. Tao din tayo, nagkakamali din tayo, but for the president, I cannot answer," the senator said.

"It's up to the President if he will accept," he said.

Duterte has frequently criticized ABS-CBN for allegedly refusing to air some of his campaign ads in 2016. 

Katigbak said in the hearing that all the national political advertisements of Duterte were aired, but it could not accommodate all his local ads since local stations are only allowed to air 2 minutes of ads per hour. 

Other candidates had already placed ads ahead of the then-mayor of Davao City and the first-come, first-serve policy was practiced, he said. 

ABS-CBN was able to refund P4 million, but was delayed in refunding P2.6 million worth of ads, Katigbak said. 

The network also returned the balance but the president's camp refused to accept the money, he said. 

"Hindi niya na magagamit yun. That was intended for political ads and promoting his candidacy," Go said.