Network to donate ad refund money to charity
MANILA (UPDATE) - ABS-CBN Corp. said Thursday it was "grateful and humbled" that President Rodrigo Duterte accepted its apology over a critical campaign commercial, adding that it would coordinate with his office to donate a refund for his unaired ads to charity.
The country's largest media and entertainment company, which is working to renew its franchise from Congress, committed to "becoming a better organization and to continue to provide more meaningful service to Filipinos."
ABS-CBN's current franchise will expire on May 4. Duterte said a new license would be up for lawmakers to decide. His eldest daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, on Thursday expressed her support for a new franchise for the network.
"We are grateful and humbled by President Rodrigo Duterte’s acceptance of our apology," ABS-CBN said in a statement.
"We will coordinate with the President’s office as it relates to his guidance on donating the refund to a charitable institution," it added.
ABS-CBN president and CEO Carlo Katigbak on Monday apologized “if we offended the President,” over a 2016 election ad that showed Duterte cursing and several children asking if his actions were right.
The network was “just abiding by the laws and regulations that surround the airing of political ads,” Katigbak said during a Senate hearing into ABS-CBN's franchise compliance.
Katigbak also said that due to an airtime limit, ABS-CBN failed to air around P7 million worth of Duterte's local ads. Of this amount, the network gave back P4 million while the refund for the remaining P2.6 million was delayed and rejected by the President's camp.
Before the public apology, Duterte made several public pronouncements opposing ABS-CBN's franchise. On Wednesday, he accepted the apology and told the network to give the refund to "any charitable institution of their choice."
The Office of the President doesn't have to coordinate with ABS-CBN over the donation since Duterte already gave the TV network a “blanket authority,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said.
“In the first place, there is no need for guidance. The President has given them the blanket authority. Just donate it to your favorite charitable organization,” he said.
The House of Representatives has yet to tackle several bills seeking a fresh license to operate for ABS-CBN. The Senate held a hearing on Monday on the network's compliance with its current franchise.
ABS-CBN is also facing a challenge lodged before the Supreme Court by Solicitor General Jose Calida. The government's lead lawyer sought to nullify ABS-CBN's franchise due to alleged abuses like illegal pay-per-view offering and foreign ownership.
The network, which reaches millions of Filipinos through its television, radio and online platforms, said it "did not violate the law" in its 65-year service.
News.abs-cbn.com is the official news website of ABS-CBN Corp.