By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang said there was no need for ABS-CBN to wait for President Duterte’s guidance in donating the P2.6-million refund for the then-presidential candidate’s unaired campaign materials during the 2016 polls.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo made the statement after ABS-CBN thanked Duterte for accepting their apology and telling them there was no need for them to return the money to him.
“We are grateful and humbled by President Rodrigo Duterte’s acceptance of our apology,” the network wrote in a statement.
“We will coordinate with the President’s office as it releases his guidance on donating the refund to a charitable institution,” it added.
In his Thursday press briefing, Panelo said there was no need for ABS-CBN to get in touch with Malacañang for the donation.
“In the first place there is no need for guidance. The President has already given them blanket authority, just donate it to your favorite charitable organization,” he said.
“So there is no need for guidance. In other words, binigay na nga sa kanila yung (The President already gave them the) discretion to choose,” he added.
On Wednesday evening, Duterte said he accepted the apology of ABS-CBN president and CEO Carlo Katigbak for the network’s shortcomings and for unintentionally offending the President.
The network likewise expressed their desire to return to the President the P2.6 million that was spent by the then-Davao City mayor’s camp for the ads.
“‘Wag na. Ibigay na lang nila sa (They don’t have to return it. They should just give it to) any charitable institution of their choice,” Duterte said.
President Duterte has threatened to block ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal for their supposed bias against him, especially during the presidential elections. He also accused the network of not returning his payment for his unaired campaign ads.