ABS-CBN CEO breaks silence on network franchise issue

ABS-CBN president and CEO Carlo Katigbak tells lawmakers that he trusts that the network will be given the chance to answer the public's questions

Rappler.com

Published: 11:36 PM February 20, 2020

Updated: 10:43 PM February 21, 2020

ABS-CBN. The network giant's franchise is set to expire on March 30, 2020. Photo by Jire Carreon/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – ABS-CBN president and CEO Carlo Katigbak issued a statement about the network giant's broadcasting franchise amid disagreements in Congress over its expiration and renewal. 

The statement, published on the ABS-CBN News website on Thursday night, February 20, said that the company will have the chance to clarify issues about their franchise in the coming days. (READ: Cayetano stalls ABS-CBN franchise hearing, slams election coverage)

"Wala po kaming nakikitang dahilan para hindi magtuloy ang paglilingkod ng ating ABS-CBN. Gayun pa man, kami ay handang sumunod sa anumang proseso na dapat pagdaanan ayon sa batas," Katigbak said.

(We see no reason for ABS-CBN's service to stop. That being said, we're ready to follow any process that the law requires us to undergo.)

He added that ABS-CBN isn't perfect and they're ready to right any wrong they might have committed. (TIMELINE: Duterte against ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal)

Aside from thanking the network's staff and their supporters, Katigbak also had a message for Filipino lawmakers: "Sa aming mga mambabatas, nasa inyong kamay po ang kinabukasan ng ABS-CBN. Nagtitiwala po kami sa sinasabi ninyo na mabibigyan kami ng pagkakataong sagutin ang mga katanungan ng mga mamamayan. Dinarasal din namin na makita ninyo ang mga kabutihang naidulot ng ABS-CBN sa bawat pamilyang Pilipino."

(To our lawmakers, ABS-CBN's future is in your hands. We trust what you've said, that we will be given a chance to answer the public's questions. We pray that you also see the good that ABS-CBN has given to every Filipino family.)

To date, there are 12 pending House bills seeking for the renewal of ABS-CBN's franchise, which will expire on March 30. (WATCH: 'We're on the side of truth,' says ABS-CBN exec on franchise renewal)

Senate is set to discuss the issue on February 27 or earlier, in the hopes of moving the House to act. Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon filed a joint resolution to extend the franchise to December 2022, in order to give Congress more time to study the bill.

Meanwhile, Solicitor General Jose Calida filed a quo warranto petition against ABS-CBN's network franchise. He later moved to gag ABS-CBN on the case.

President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed that he doesn't want ABS-CBN's franchise renewed. In 2017, he accused the network of "swindling" because ABS-CBN allegedly did not air his campaign advertisements during the 2016 presidential elections. 

In December 2019, he told ABS-CBN that he "will see to it that you're out," and that the media giant would be better off if it "just sells" the network instead.

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has also accused the network of supposedly giving more airtime to other candidates during the 2016 campaign period. – Rappler.com