‘Fair reporting is all the President wants’

February 24, 2020
Bong Go

SENATOR Bong Go yesterday questioned ABS-CBN Corp.’s decision to air a negative campaign advertisement against President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016, as a Senate panel tackled issues hounding the media company’s license to operate.

In 2016, a negative political ad paid for by then Sen. Antonio Triallanes was aired by ABS-CBN.  

It showed children reacting to some of Duterte’s controversial remarks and expletives, including his cursing of Pope Francis and his comment about the rape-slaying of an Australian missionary.

“Paano ito naging political ad? Ano ba ang priority ninyo? Black propaganda?” Go asked ABS-CBN officials present in the hearing.

“This is very troublesome. Media networks are supposed to be impartial... Kung nagawa ito sa isang kandidato sa pagka-presidente, paano pa sa isang ordinaryong mamamayan, ordinaryong Pilipino lamang?” he said.

The advertisement “maligned then-presidential candidate Duterte for the purpose of destroying his reputation” during a crucial period in the campaign for the presidency, said Go, Duterte’s former aide.

A day after its first broadcast, the ad was pulled off air after then Duterte running-mate Alan Peter Cayetano secured a temporary restraining order from a court in his bailiwick Taguig.

The court ruled that the ad “must be suppressed at once” as the repeated broadcast of “minors being used in black propaganda” would be “irreparably inimical to the children’s welfare and interest.”

The court also cited a Broadcast Code of 2007 provision which guarantees that “no program or sponsor shall be allowed to manifestly favor or oppose any candidate or political party.”

Duterte’s right to reply to the accusations against him “will be denied” because the advertisement was aired a few days before the 2016 presidential elections, it said.

“Nasaktan ang presidente, nababoy ang presidente... Hindi vindictive ang pangulo but someone clearly went overboard with the airing of this black propaganda,” Go said.

“Kung ganito na maaaring magsama-sama ang mga partido para pabagsakin ang isang tao... Tama po ang Pangulo na labanan ang mga elistista at oligarkiya na naghahari sa ating bansa,” Go said.

“Sino ba ang gumawa nito? Sino ba ang nagbayad para dito? Bakit ni-refund ang already-paid ads ni then-Mayor Duterte, kindly show the check, it was addressed to me, and a refund for Rodrigo Duterte. Hindi na niya ito tinanggap yung refund, kasi tapos na ang election.

What if natalo siya noong election, dahil sa isang paninirang binayaran ng isang — alam ninyo na sino nagbayad, nakalagay naman sa baba,” Go asked.  

“Pero pinabayaan ng network na ma-ere ang paninira na ito. This is clearly black propaganda. Sino ang pumayag na i-ere ito? Bakit ninyo pinayagan? Bakit kinailangan pa ng TRO para mahinto ang pag-ere nito?” he added.

He said, it is unfair to allow a negative ad 2 to 3 days before the election and then not approve legitimate ads for then presidential candidate Mayor Duterte. It says so in the Fair Elections Act.

“In fact, yung pagiging unfair na ito ay ni-recognize ng korte. Kaya nga grinant ng RTC ang TRO.”
“Di ba sabi ninyo po, ‘in the service of the Filipino nation’? Ganun din po ako, serbisyo sa Pilipino, so unahin natin ang interes ng Pilipino,” the senator said.

“Wala pong hinihingi si Pangulo noon pa man. Ni hindi nga nakikiusap ‘yan sa mga media. Fair reporting: that is all the president wants. Ano lang po ang totoo. Nothing more, nothing less.”

“Kung masama ka sa Pangulo, maging mas masama siya sa iyo. Kung mabait ka kay Pangulo, mas mabait s’ya sa inyo,” he said in his opening statement.