ABS-CBN should have apologized a long time ago: Palace

By Azer Parrocha

February 24, 2020, 5:51 pm

MANILA – Malacañang on Monday said ABS-CBN should have apologized to President Rodrigo Duterte a long time ago for failing to air the former Davao City mayor’s political ads during the 2016 campaign period.

This was the comment made by Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo after ABS-CBN President and CEO Carlo Katigbak apologized during a Senate inquiry into issues regarding the network's franchise which Solicitor General Jose Calida wants to revoke.

“I’m glad finally ABS-CBN has admitted its shortcomings to the President. Dapat noon pa nila ginawa (They should have done that a long time ago),” Panelo said in a Palace press briefing.

Panelo scored ABS-CBN for admitting that they failed to air PHP7 million worth of Duterte's political ads since they could no longer be accommodated.

“Alam niyo na may atraso kayo. May ginawa ba kayo? Yun nga yung tinatawag na hubris (You know you made a mistake. But did you do anything about it. That’s what you call hubris),” he said.

He, however, said it would be up to the President to decide whether or not he would accept ABS-CBN’s apology.

“I do not know. Na kay Presidente ‘yun (It’s the President’s call). It’s personal to him,” he said.

'Waste of time'

Panelo, also Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, described as “a waste of time” the Senate inquiry into whether or not the franchise of ABS-CBN Corp violated separation of powers among branches of government.

“They wasted two hours debating on something that they should have known already,” Panelo said.

He, however, said the Senate was not violating any laws in holding the inquiry since it is a separate branch of government.

He emphasized that lawmakers should have resolved this debate much earlier.

Meanwhile, he assured anew that the Palace will “not interfere” with the franchise renewal of the media giant.

During the Senate hearing on ABS-CBN’s franchise, Katigbak explained that the network failed to accommodate his ads since slots for local ads were limited to just two minutes per hour.

Katigbak said ABS-CBN refunded about PHP4 million to the President, but encountered a delay in returning the remaining PHP2.6 million.

He said the President's camp refused to accept the delayed refund.

"On this issue, we acknowledge our shortcoming in our failure to release the refund in a timely manner," Katigbak said.

Duterte has repeatedly expressed displeasure over the ABS-CBN’s failure to air his political ads as well as its alleged biased reporting.

In 2019, he asked the owners to sell the network since its franchise expires on March 30, 2020 unless Congress grants a fresh 25-year extension.

Recently, Calida asked the Supreme Court to revoke ABS-CBN’s franchise due to its supposed violation of the 1987 Constitution when it allowed foreign ownership of the Philippine media entity.

He also called on the high court to stop parties from issuing statements on the pending quo warranto suit against ABS-CBN’s franchise. (PNA)