Nandiyan na eh (It’s already there.) I accept the apology, of course,” Duterte told reporters Wednesday at Malacañang.
But Duterte said ABS-CBN should just donate the remaining ₱2.6-million the network owes him for its failure to air his political advertisements during the 2016 election.
Despite accepting the apology, Duterte was noncommittal on the renewal of the TV network’s fate, refusing to say whether he will approve or reject a bill passed by Congress granting ABS-CBN a fresh 25-year franchise.
He said he may consult the media whether or not to approve the bill on ABS-CBN’s franchise.
ABS-CBN President and CEO Carlo Katigbak publicly apologized to Duterte during the first congressional hearing on their franchise at the Senate, over the airing of the advertisement which questioned if a tough-talking, cursing politician would be a good fit for president.
“We are sorry if we offended the President. That was not the intention of the network. We felt that we were just abiding by regulations that surround the airing of political ads,” Katigbak said Monday.
‘Critical move’ with House
Duterte is also keeping a hands-off approach to Solicitor General Jose Calida’s bid to void ABS-CBN’s franchise through a quo warranto petition before the Supreme Court.
“Ang problema nitong sa [The problem here with the] SolGen, once he makes an official statement that there is violation of law then I cannot just tell him to stop,” he said.
He said the fate of ABS-CBN’s franchise lies with Congress, adding that the “critical move” is with the House of Representatives which is yet to hold a single hearing on bill seeking a new franchise.
Duterte said he has never and will not interfere in congressional deliberations on the issue.
(CNN Philippines’ X. Gregorio, J. Peralta, E. Santos and A Alimario contributed to this report.)