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ABS-CBN had malicious intent vs President, Go insists

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All media entities should practice fairness and accuracy at all times, Sen. Bong Go emphasizes.

Black propaganda has no place in a fair electoral process.

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go emphasized this anew on Wednesday as he recalled the key points he raised in Monday’s hearing that tackled the ABS-CBN Company’s franchise.

Go cited in particular the network’s decision to air advertisements against President Rodrigo Duterte, paid for by former senator Antonio Trillanes IV, during the 2016 campaign period.

“Pwede raw ‘yung ads? Bakit hindi pinayagan ng ibang network? Para sa kanila, hindi fair ang ads na iyon. It was pure black propaganda para dumihan ang isang kandidato,” Go said during an ambush interview.

“‘Di ba ang Commission on Elections dapat, fair elections? Kung paninira, hindi na fair iyon. Iyon ang tinatawag na unfair elections.”

Go also called out the malicious motives of Trillanes for the ads, saying that he could have instead promoted himself as a candidate since he was then running for the vice presidency, instead of attacking another candidate.

“Bakit siya nagbayad ads para sa paninira? Bakit hindi na lang niya pinromote ang sarili n’ya? Bakit siya gumastos para siraan si then Mayor Duterte? ‘Yun talaga medyo madumi,” he said.

During the Senate hearing, Go explained that legislators should ensure that legislative franchises being granted are geared towards the protection of public interest and are not used to mislead or misinform the public.

He used the airing of the anti-Duterte ad as an example.

“Paano ito naging political ad? Are you promoting a candidate here or are you destroying a candidate? Gusto ko lang malaman, ano ba ang priority ng network? Kumikita ang network through the airing of political ads,” Go inquired.

Go stressed that in this case, airing the black propaganda video appeared to be more important than earning income from airing legitimate ads that have already been paid for.

The non-airing of ads already paid for and the subsequent airing of ads for the purpose of maligning a person display an intent to oppose a particular candidate, according to Go.

“The court which granted the TRO {temporary restraining order] even pointed out that the propaganda video shows minors being used in black propaganda. Thus, as pointed out by the court, the ad must be suppressed at once, as repeated broadcasting of the same will be irreparably inimical to the children’s welfare and interest,” Go cited.

“Hindi mababaw ang rason ng Pangulo sa kanyang grievances against the network. Nasaktan ang Presidente. Nababoy ang Presidente. Hindi vindictive ang Pangulo, but it is clear that someone went overboard in trying to malign him,” he added during the hearing.

The senator also cited provisions in the Fair Elections Act.

“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,” said Go.

“Nawalan ng mahalagang oras sa kampanya ang isang kandidato dahil mas pinili ng ABS CBN na i-ere ang black propaganda for a slot that could have been used by ads that have already been paid for.”

Go also said it was unfair to allow a negative ad a week before the elections and then not approve legitimate ads for then presidential candidate Duterte.

“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,” Go also said.

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