Tue. May 11th, 2021

MANILA – Broadcast firm ABS-CBN Corporation need not seek President Rodrigo Duterte’s guidance on how to donate the PHP2.6 million refund the network was supposed to pay him for unaired campaign advertisements during the 2016 presidential race, Malacañang said on Thursday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte already gave ABS-CBN the discretion to pick its “favorite” charitable institution that will be beneficiary of the donation.

“In the first place, there is no need for guidance. The President has already given them the blanket authority. Just donate it to your favorite charitable organization,” he said in a Palace press briefing.

On Monday, ABS-CBN president and chief executive officer Carlo Katigbak apologized if Duterte got offended by the airing of a 2016 political advertisement that focused on then Davao mayor’s cursing.

Duterte on Wednesday accepted ABS-CBN’s apology and vowed not to interfere in its franchise renewal bid that has yet to be acted upon by Congress.

Earlier Thursday, ABS-CBN said it was “grateful and humbled” by Duterte’s acceptance of the apology.

It also pledged to coordinate with Duterte’s office with regard to the donation of a refund for his unaired advertisement to charity.

“ABS-CBN remains committed to becoming a better organization and to continue to provide more meaningful service to Filipinos,” ABS-CBN said in a statement.

ABS-CBN’s franchise expires on May 4, unless Congress and Duterte allow the media entity to operate for another 25 years.

Duterte said ABS-CBN’s fate is now up to the House of Representatives, which has to approve its franchise bill first before the Senate can pass a similar measure.

A ratified franchise bill will then be sent to Duterte’s office for his signature. (iamigo/sovereignph.com/PNA)

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