‘Nothing illegal’ with 2016 anti-Duterte political ad – Trillanes
MANILA, Philippines — Former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV maintained that there was “nothing illegal” about his political ad in 2016 against then-presidential candidate and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
Trillanes issued the statement after Duterte’s closest ally in the Senate, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, accused ABS-CBN of airing what he said was “black propaganda” against the chief executive.
The former senator, one of the staunchest critics of the President, said that Go’s “assertion that the airing of my advertisement is the reason why the ABS-CBN franchise should not be renewed is a lie.”
“First, there’s nothing illegal about the ad itself and the airing of the ad,” Trillanes said.
He argued that the same political ad was also aired on GMA 7.
“Yet Duterte never complained about it when its franchise was renewed,” Trillanes said.
“So, definitely there is another ulterior motive in the blocking of ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal,” he added.
During the hearing, Go confronted executives of the network over the airing of the 30-second ad which showed children questioning Duterte’s foul language.
“Paano ito naging (How did this become a) political ad? Are you promoting a candidate here or are you destroying a candidate? Gusto ko lang malaman, ano ba ang priority ng (I want to know the priorities of the ) network? [The network is earning more money] through the airing of political ads,” Go said.
“But in this case, airing the black propaganda video appeared to be more important than earning income from airing legitimate ads that have already been paid for,” he added.
“Sino ba ang gumawa nito (Who made this)? Sino ba ang nagbayad para dito (Who paid for this) ?” he further asked.
Go said the President’s reason for his “grievances against the network” was “not shallow.”
“I would like to correct my fellow colleague in this chamber. Hindi mababaw ang rason ng Pangulo sa kanyang (The President has no flimsy reason in airing his) grievances against the network,” he said.
“Nasaktan ang Presidente. Nababoy ang Presidente. Hindi vindictive ang Pangulo, but it is clear that someone went overboard in trying to malign him,” he added. (The President was hurt. He was violated. The President was not vindictive…)
Go cited the Fair Elections Act which stated that “all members of media, television, radio or print, shall scrupulously report and interpret the news, taking care not to suppress essential facts nor to distort the truth by omission or improper emphasis.”
“They shall recognize the duty to air the other side and the duty to correct substantive errors promptly,” he added.
The senator then demanded impartiality from the network when he denounced the “black propaganda” against the President.
“That is why, for me, this is very troublesome. Media networks are supposed to be neutral and impartial,” he added.
ABS-CBN president and chief executive officer Carlo Katigbak already apologized to the President if he was offended by the airing of the political ad paid for by Trillanes.
Katigbak, however, said that the network had followed the policy regarding the airing of political ads.