Palace: Up to Duterte to accept ABS-CBN's late apology

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang said it was up to President Duterte if he will accept the long-overdue apology of broadcast media giant ABS-CBN for having wronged him during the election season in 2016.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN) Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement after ABS-CBN president and CEO Carlo Katigbak apologized for the company's shortcomings and promised to right their wrongs.

In his Monday press briefing, Panelo said ABS-CBN should have apologized a long time ago since they knew they did the President wrong.

"Dapat noon pa nila ginawa... Alam niyo na na may atraso kayo. May ginawa ba kayo? Wala, Yun ang tinatawag niyang hubris. Masyado kayong mayabang (They should have apologized long ago. They knew their mistake but they did nothing. That is what the President calls hubris. They are too cocky)," he said.

"Pero (But) I'm glad ABS-CBN finally admitted its shortcomings to the President. Dapat noon pa na nila ginawa 'yan (But they should have done that a long time ago)."

According to Panelo, it was now up to President Duterte whether he will change his mind about ABS-CBN or not.

"Na kay Presidente ‘yun (It's up to the President). It's a personal decision," he said. "Matagal nang nangyari ‘yun. Kumbaga, kung hindi nag-alboroto sa 'yo tsaka ka lang hihingi ng paumanhin (It happened years ago already. If the President did not rant about them they would not have apologized)."

President Duterte was not shy in expressing his opposition to ABS-CBN's franchise renewal. He even threatened to block the renewal of their franchise for their supposed failure to air his paid campaign materials during the 2016 elections.

Senate hearing

Meanwhile, Panelo said the Senate wasted time discussing if they are covered by the sub judice rule as they conducted a hearing on ABS-CBN's franchise Monday.

The sub judice rule governs what public statements can be made about ongoing legal proceedings before, principally, the courts. Solicitor General Jose Calida has filed a quo warranto petition against ABS-CBN before the Supreme Court for allegedly violating the condition of their franchise.

"They wasted time discussing something that they should have known at the very inception," he said. "But certainly they're not wasting time discussing the subject matter."

Malacañang has repeatedly urged Congress to "do its job" regarding ABS-CBN's plea to have their franchise renewed. The network's franchise is set to expire in May this year, according to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.