ABS-CBN President and CEO Carlo Katigbak said on Monday that the company does not favor any candidates as lawmakers discussed the alleged political bias the network allegedly had in past elections.
The “first come, first served” system was the reason why some candidates did not have their campaigns aired.
Katigbak told lawmakers that the candidates’ ad agents wanted to be given the opportunity to buy ad slots that had already been filled in ABS-CBN’s program just in case other clients decided to withdraw their ads.
Katigbak added that some advertisements filed by Sen. Mar Roxas and Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago weren’t aired, not just President Rodrigo Duterte’s. Rep. Rufus Rodriguez explained that the unaired ads for Senators, Vice President, and President were from different political parties and did not target a particular one.
Katigbak then promised that ABS-CBN will be more caring the next time around in reference to airing political ads.
“Assuming that we are on air during the next campaign period, we have already committed to put together an online system for the purchase of political ads so that there is full transparency as to the first-come, first-served policy as well as full transparency on shows that are already filled up,” Katigbak said, adding that it “will still continue to give the option to the candidate a contingency purchase if they so choose but with the full knowledge that the shows that they are asking for spots on are already fully sold.”
In addition, Katigbak said ABS-CBN will look at Rodriguez’s proposal to stop accepting political ads when there are no slots left.
“Even the act of denying a candidate the ability to purchase on a particular program may also be considered as bias,” Katigbak said.
Katigbak reiterated that ABS-CBN had delays in refunding candidates for unaired political ads in 2016 elections, but more than made up for it in the 2019 polls.
Kapisanan ng mga Broadkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) President Jun Nicdao said that ABS-CBN Corp. Is generally unbiased in reporting news. And only has received 11 complaints since 2010, 8 of which have been resolved.
“In general po, masasabi po natin, for the most part fair po ang ABS-CBN. Of course, as they said, they are not perfect,” Nicdao told lawmakers at the 12th hearing on ABS-CBN’s franchise application.
“Mayroon po akong listahan ng mga reklamo against them since 2010, umaabot po ng 11 ang reklamo against them, ranging from offensive words to biased reporting na sinasabi…’Yung 8 po, naresolve between the parties,
“Ang maganda naman po sa ABS, basta nagkaroon ng ganitong kaso, nire-resolve po nila, and if they made a mistake, they promise to reform. They always try to correct whatever mistake they have done,” Nicdao said.
Nicdao said that KBP has received more complaints in provinces when asked if he considers ABS-CBN a major violator.
“Pangkaraniwan po ito. In fact, I would say actually mas marami po kaming naririnig na kaso sa mga miyembro po natin sa probinsya… Hindi po malala ‘yung sa kanila. May mas malala pa sa kanila,” he explained.
Nicdao said KBP members observe self-regulation, but the group also has a quasi-judicial body that hears complaints against its members.
“Kung mayroon mapatunayan na naglabag yung inakusahan na programa istasyon o network o personality ay bibigyan po ng karampatang fine o penalty,” he said.
Nicdao is a supporter of giving ABS-CBN a new franchise.
ABS-CBN Integrated News chief Ma. Regina Reyes on Monday on the other hand said that the company’s journalists “strive to keep biases in check, and to report on newsworthy events, persons, and issues in an accurate, fair, and balanced manner.”
A network ombudsman investigates complaints against news personnel, and a standards and practices unit ensures journalist’s adherence to ethics code, she added.
However, former Kapamilya broadcaster Jay Sonza accused ABS-CBN of being biased against reporting Paolo Duterte’s alleged association to drug trafficking. “Ilang beses po yang inilabas ng mga networks lalong lalo na ng ABS-CBN. But they never had… na kunin yung panig… binanatan si Polong Duterte,” Sonza told lawmakers.
But ABS-CBN articles suggest that the network showed on Paolo’s side of the issue.