Press Release
February 24, 2020

Bong Go demands fair and balanced reporting from ABS-CBN amid its franchise renewal woes; states willingness to appeal to PRRD to save jobs of the network's employees

In the exigency of fair and balanced reporting, Senator Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go on Monday, February 24, demanded impartiality from ABS-CBN after the Senator denounced the black propaganda aired by the network against then mayor and, now, President Rodrigo Duterte during the 2016 campaign period.

Go was referring to the negative advertisement aired by the network against the President which was paid for by former senator and then vice presidential candidate Antonio Trillanes IV. ABS-CBN failed to air some of the advertisements that the President had paid for during the campaign period.

During the Senate public hearing on the network's franchise, Go said that the grievances of Duterte against the network are valid, citing the Fair Elections Act which states that "All members of media, television, radio or print, shall scrupulously report and interpret the news, taking care not to suppress essential facts nor to distort the truth by omission or improper emphasis. They shall recognize the duty to air the other side and the duty to correct substantive errors promptly."

"It is unfair to allow a negative ad (to air) a week before the election and then not approve legitimate ads for then presidential candidate Mayor Duterte. It says so in the Fair Elections Act," Go said during his opening statement.

Enjoining ABS-CBN to rectify the issue, Go demanded impartiality from the network, saying "Media networks are supposed to be neutral and impartial."

"But if this is the case--if some media networks and some political elites and economic elites can get together and destroy the candidacy of one candidate--tama nga ang Pangulo na labanan ang mga elitista at oligarkiya na kasalukuyang naghahari sa ating bansa," he added.

Go also urged the network to stay true to their slogan of serving the Filipino nation.

"'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," Go said. "Trabaho ko, my job as a legislator, is to vote according to conscience, and my conscience is with the Filipino people."

Go added that the President wants nothing but balanced and fair reporting from the media. "Wala pong hinihingi si Pangulo noon pa man. Ni hindi nga nakikiusap yan. Fair reporting: that is all the President wants. Ano lang po ang totoo. Nothing more, nothing less."

The Senator then urged the network to reveal the truth regarding the unaired paid ads and the black propaganda against Duterte.

"If you want fair reporting, then ilabas ninyo ang katotohanan kung bakit nasaktan ang Pangulo. Mayroong mga media na mas priority pa nila ilabas ang sa tingin nilang mali at mapanira, kaysa ilabas ang mabuting pagseserbisyo na binibigay sa mga kapwa Pilipino," he said.

However, expressing his concern for ABS-CBN employees who could lose their job over the non-renewal of the network's franchise, Go also said that he would still appeal to the President to reconsider his position.

"Nonetheless, kung ako po ang tatanungin, I will also appeal to the President, for the simple reason na ayaw ko na may mawalan ng trabaho," Go ended.

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