ABS-CBN Corporation said on Thursday that it was “grateful and humbled” by President Rodrigo Duterte’s acceptance of the network’s apology over the Chief Executive’s political advertisements that the broadcast company failed to air during the 2016 presidential campaign.
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, Duterte accepted the apology and told the network to give the refund to “any charitable institution of their choice.”
Congressmen at the House of Representatives said they have yet to tackle several bills seeking the renewal of ABS-CBN’s license to operate.
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.
Calida 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.
The unaired advertisements had long been the center of Duterte’s tirades against ABS-CBN.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said these sentiments should not be interpreted to mean that the President seeks to shutter the network./Stacy Ang