MANILA -- ABS-CBN's airing of a negative ad in 2016 and the non-airing of President Duterte's own political ads at the local level are the reasons why President Duterte is mad at the network, his former aide, Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go, confirmed on Monday
Speaking to reporters, Go said Duterte was personally offended by the negative political ad, paid for by then-Sen. Antonio Trillanes, which he described as black propaganda.
The negative political ad showed children reacting to some of Duterte's controversial remarks and expletives, including his cursing of Pope Francis and his comment about the rape-slay of an Australian missionary.
"Ang isyu dito, bakit binigyan ng priority 'yung black propaganda? Hindi naman po political ads 'yung black propaganda. Paninira po 'yun sa isang kandidato, then-Mayor Duterte, siraan siya para bumaba 'yung kanyang rating that time...Hindi mababaw 'yung dahilan, dahil crucial po 'yung panahon na 'yun at eleksyon ang pinaguusapan dito at iisa lang po ang mananalo," he said on the sidelines of the Senate hearing on ABS-CBN franchise issues.
Go, however, denied that the President was out for revenge against the network.
"Hindi po vindictive ang ating Pangulo gaya ng sinabi ko sa inyo. Siguro nakahanap lang kayo ng isang pangulong kumakasa talaga at lumalaban. Ngayon lang siguro, ngayon lang siguro. Halos lahat naman ay kinakaya-kaya ng mga oligarchs. Ngayon, talagang makikipagpatayan 'yan," he said.
He added that the President does not want to file a case against ABS-CBN even after the network failed to air some of his local ads in 2016 due to ad-load limits and the network's first-come, first-serve policy.
"Ayaw niya sigurong mag-file ng kaso sa korte. Hindi ko po masasagot bakit. Hindi nga niya tinanggap 'yung refund eh. Hindi niya tinanggap 'yung refund kasi para sa kanya, tapos na ang eleksyon at hindi na niya magagamit 'yun,' he said.
ABS-CBN president and Chief Executive Officer Carlo L. Katigbak earlier apologized on behalf of the entire network for the airing of the political ad but belied allegations that the media company pushes its "own political agenda."
"We were sorry if we offended the President. That was not the intention of the network. We felt that we were just abiding by the laws and regulations that surround the airing of political ads," Katigbak told senators.
He also said the Fair Elections Act allows the airing of negative ads.
All the national political advertisements of Duterte were aired, but it could not accommodate all his local ads since local stations are only allowed to air 2 minutes of ads per hour, Katigbak said.
Other candidates had already placed ads ahead of the then-mayor of Davao City and the first-come, first-serve policy was practiced, he said.
ABS-CBN was able to refund P4 million, but was delayed in refunding P2.6 million worth of ads, Katigbak said.
The network also returned the balance but the president's camp refused to accept the money, he said.
"Para malaman ng Pilipino kung ano ba talaga nagpainit sa isyu. 'Yun naman talaga yung puno't dulo dito. I'm addressing to all, sa lahat, sa lahat ng mga naghahari dito na mayroon talagang taong kakasa. May taong kakasa talaga. Eto na 'yun. 'Yung presidente natin, kumasa. At 'yung ugali nito, talagang bahala na. Sabi ko nga, kung mabuti kayong tao sa kanya, mas mabuti po siya sa inyo. Kung mas masama ka, mas magiging masama siya sa inyo. Ako, kilala ko siya. Mabait 'yan pag mabait ka sa kanya. May puso rin 'yan. May puso ka, mas may puso rin 'yan sa atin. Kaya nga po pinili ng tao, kaya minamahal ng Pilipino," Go said.
Go said it is up to the President if he will accept the apology of Katigbak. "Hopefully ay tanggapin niya 'yung sorry. May puso naman ang ating mahal na Pangulo," he said.
He added that he will also make an appeal to the President since the jobs of 11,000 ABS-CBN employees and talents are at stake.
"Magaapila ako sa kanya na ayoko pong may mawalan ng trabaho," he said.
He also urged the House of Representatives to do their own hearings on the ABS-CBN franchise.
"Sa mga kongresista, naunahan pa kayo ng Senado. Inunahan na kayo ni Sen. Grace Poe. I'm urging you to...pag-usapan niyo na at para mapakinggan lahat ng sides. And let's be fair to everybody. Fair tayo. Pakinggan natin ang ABS, pakinggan natin ang lahat ng mga reklamo, mga hinaing. Ito na 'yung proper venue na sabihin natin ang lahat," he said.