On Thursday night, ABS-CBN started airing negative political advertisements during their prime time commercial slots which targeted Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

The 30-second ad featured children who edgily asked whether we wanted the tough-talking mayor as their role model if he wins the presidency.

It then showed various videos of Duterte’s controversial public statements throughout the campaign period which touched on murder, rape and his excessive cursing.

ABS-CBN has acknowledged that the ad stirred up a social media firestorm with Duterte supporters criticizing the use of minors and questioning in turn whether the airing of such a negative ad was ethically correct.

On the other hand, Duterte’s detractors retorted that there was nothing wrong with the advertisement since all the things shown were true and was just a simple compilation of the mayor’s antics.

ABS-CBN’s statement

For their part, ABS-CBN issued a statement on the same day after receiving flak for allegedly being biased, the Inquirer reported.

The statement revealed that the negative ad was produced and paid for by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV’s camp.

Trillanes has been hounding Duterte since he exposed the mayor’s bank accounts last month which he claimed contained P211 million with up to billions in bank transactions.

“Prior to the airing, ABS-CBN’s ethics committee reviewed the content of the material, which complies with the requirements of pertinent election laws,” the statement read.

ABS-CBN explained that by airing these ads they were not discriminating against anyone.

“By airing the said commercial, ABS-CBN is being consistent with COMELEC guidelines, which prohibit radio or television stations to discriminate in the sale of air time against any political party or candidate. We are duty bound to air a legitimate ad,” it added.

The report also said a negative political ad against Duterte was likewise aired at GMA-7 on Thursday. Radio stations already aired the same ad before the TV commercials.

Earlier, an Inquirer report said that Duterte’s running mate, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano cautioned their supporters to brace themselves for the airing of these negative advertisements aimed at reducing the survey frontrunner’s enduring popularity.

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