One week before the 2016 presidential election, the nation was surprised when ABS-CBN aired an advertisement showing children asking the morality of one of the candidates during that time, former Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
“Tama po bang murahin ang Santo Papa?” “Ituro niyo po sa amin ang tama,” “Mali po ang mambastos ng mga babae,” these are what the children said in the advertisement while showing the controversial clips of Duterte.
When the said advertisement was aired, the angry supporters of Duterte who’s the leading candidate during that time went to the ABS-CBN building in Davao City asking for the closure of the company.
Some of them even brought funeral flowers for the broadcasting company.
ABS-CBN revealed that the advertisement was produced and paid for by former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV who’s a critic of Duterte.
“Prior to the airing, ABS-CBN’s ethics committee reviewed the content of the material, which complies with the requirements of the pertinent election laws,” the ABS-CBN said in their statement.
Even the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) during that time defended the said controversial ad, explaining that political advertisements can be good or bad.
A Youtube video also claimed that there’s another anti-Duterte ad that is not aired on television and netizens saw it as more extreme than the commercial played on ABS-CBN.
Despite the advertisements aired against Duterte, it didn’t stop the people from voting the former Mayor of Davao to the most powerful position in the country.
In 2017, one year after he became President, Duterte made his first comment against ABS-CBN, warning them about ‘karma’.
“Inquirer, mga bull**** kayo, pati ‘yang ABS-CBN, basura ‘yang inano ninyo. Dapat may magsabi sa inyo ngayon, mga put*** *** ninyo, sinobrahan ‘nyo ang kalokohan ninyo,” Duterte said in 2017.
He then talked about the franchise of ABS-CBN for the first time and vowed to block its renewal.
“[The franchise] has been there for 25 years. Sabi ng batas okay na, only if you adhere to journalistic standards. Ang ginawa ninyo sa amin Estafa, swindling, not only me but Chiz Escudero, marami pa yan. Harap harapan mag kolekta kayo tapos i-Estafa ninyo kami,” he said.
“So I will file a complaint. Congress, no need to renew it. But to operate is something else, so I will point this out, yung basura ninyo, we’ll see,” he added
In the same year, Duterte criticized ABS-CBN Chairman Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III and claimed that they didn’t return the money he paid for political advertisement in 2016.
“Gabby Lopez, I paid ABS-CBN P2.8 million… You accepted my money, you never bothered to show my propaganda. After the elections, you didn’t return the money,” he said.
In an interview, Duterte said that ABS-CBN attempted to return the money to him, but he rejected it because it’s too late already.
In 2018, Duterte again talked about his issues with ABS-CBN.
“I will not say I am sorry but you should understand me. ‘Yung placement ko na hindi natuloy, tapos nababoy pa ako.,” he said.
In 2019, months before the franchise expiration of ABS-CBN, Duterte then expressed his opposition against the broadcasting company, saying that they’re not going to get a franchise renewal.
“Ang inyong franchise mag-end next year. If you are expecting na ma-renew ‘yan, I’m sorry. You’re out. I will see to it that you’re out,” said Duterte.
He then suggested to ABS-CBN to just sell their company to other businessmen.
In 2020, two months before the franchise expiration of ABS-CBN, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) filed a quo warranto petition against the television network.
The House of Representatives also launched a hearing on the ABS-CBN franchise.
During the hearing, the ABS-CBN executives said that they approved one of the versions of the anti-Duterte ad featuring children because they believe that they’re only asking questions.
The executive also pointed out that under the code of Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) they’re required not to reject any candidate’s ad.
They also apologized to President Duterte for hurting the President feelings.
“We were sorry if we offended the President. We felt that we are just abiding with the laws and regulations that surround the airing of political ads,” Katigbak said.
Despite the explanations made by the executives, they still fail to get a franchise after 70 lawmakers voted against it.