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ABS-CBN CEO defends airing Trillanes’ anti-Duterte commercial: Legit ads must be accommodated

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ABS-CBN Chief Executive Officer Carlo Katigbak has defended the decision to air a campaign advertisement against then-Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte in the run-up to the 2016 elections, saying it was compliant with the network’s policies.

At the hearing of the Senate public services committee on ABS-CBN’s franchise Monday (February 24), Katigbak said the network’s internal committee approved the airing of the ad paid for by Trillanes since the Fair Election Act mandated the network to air all “lawful election propaganda” for or against any candidate.

“Unlike the first version (of the ad) we rejected because children were performing inappropriate actions, the revised version of the ad showed the children merely asking questions. So we felt it did not violate our internal policies,” he said.

Katigbak said the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas, of which ABS-CBN is a member, also requires television networks not to discriminate against any candidate.

“Any candidate with ads that are legitimate must be accommodated,” he said.

The ad paid for by Trillanes, then a vice presidential candidate, showed children reacting to some of Duterte’s controversial statements, including his comment about the rape-slay of an Australian missionary and the foul words he hurled at Pope Francis.

Senator Bong Go said Duterte was hurt by the campaign ad. “Hindi mababaw ang rason ng pangulo sa kanyang grievances against the network. Nasaktan ang presidente, nababoy ang presidente,” he said at the hearing.

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