Sa gitna ng franchise controversy na kinahaharap ng TV network, humingi ng paumanhin si ABS-CBN President and CEO Carlo Katigbak kay Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte sa pagpapalabas ng political advertisement ng opposition noong 2016 laban sa kanya.
“We are sorry if we offended the President. That was not the intention of the network. We felt that we were just abiding by regulations that surround the airing of political ads,” saad ni Katigbak sa hearing sa Senado tungkol sa renewal ng ABS-CBN franchise.
Sinabi rin ni Katigbak na wala silang political agenda, matapos kuwestiyunin ang pagtanggap nito ng bayad sa political advertisement ng Pangulo na hindi naiere.
“Today, we want to make a categorical statement together with our chairman Mark Lopez that ABS-CBN does not and will not have its own political agenda.”
Inamin rin ni Katigbak na mayroong P7 million worth ng advertisement ng Pangulo na hindi nila nailabas, at ito ay kanilang nai-refund.
Una nilang na-refund ang P4 million, ngunit nagkaroon sila ng delay sa nalalabing P2.6 million na hindi na tinanggap ng Pangulo.
Sa pag-ere naman ng political ads ni former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, na kilalang kritiko ng Pangulo, wala umano itong nilalabag na batas kaya ito naipalabas.
“Sa ad ni Senator Trillanes, under the Fair Elections Act, lawful election propaganda shall include for or against the candidacy. That to us was the first reason why our internal committee gave a green light to the ad. The second reason, they felt that unlike the first version which we rejected because we felt the children were performing inappropriate actions or behavior, there was a revised version of the ad that showed the children merely asking questions. It did not violate any of our internal policies.”
Dagdag pa ni Katigbak, sa ilalim ng Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) code, inaatasan sila na huwag i-discriminate ang sinumang kandidato.