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ABS-CBN: Pacquiao approved telecast

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Manny Pacquiao & Ricky HattonBy Abac Cordero Updated
March 25, 2009 12:00 AM 

MANILA, Philippines - Stunned like everybody else.

That was how ABS-CBN felt about Manny Pacquiao’s statement that the giant television network aired the video footage that showed the boxing superstar rescinding his contract with Solar Sports when it was not supposed to.

“We are surprised by Manny Pacquiao’s statement that ABS-CBN News broke a supposed embargo,” said a statement released by the ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs to the media yesterday.

“We respond because this charge strikes at our core values as a news organization: honest reporting and respect for our sources,” it added.

Out to set the record straight, ABS-CBN said Pacquiao on March 14 recorded a statement “that he asked to be embargoed (withheld)” and the TV station obliged and said that the statement was “never aired.”

It was March 17, when the issue between ABS-CBN and Solar Sports had become the talk of the town, when Pacquiao issued another statement, “saying that he came to ABS-CBN to air his next fight.”

Pacquiao, according to the TV network, approved that statement for airing, and “our newscasts aired it on Wednesday, March 19 (Manila time).

It was in this footage where Pacquiao announced that he was rescinding or has rescinded his contract with Solar Sports as his official media partner, due to delayed payment for his May 2 fight with Ricky Hatton in Las Vegas.

Solar has a contract with Pacquiao to air his fights starting in 2007 until 2011, and has the right to choose a network that would air the fights locally. In this case, GMA-7 is the current partner with a live contract with Solar Sports.

Then on March 19, a Friday in Manila, Pacquiao once again came on ABS-CBN, saying his decision “is still the same” and he asked his supporters to watch out for his Hatton fight on ABS-CBN.

The following day, however, Pacquiao recanted all his previous statements, saying there was no violation in his contract with Solar, which he described as “valid and binding” and therefore he had to honor it.

Pacquiao then came out of GMA-7 saying everything is back to normal. He also apologized to the public for any confusion, and said what happened was a mere miscommunication between him and Solar Sports.

He said the Hatton fight will be aired on GMA-7.

Still, ABS-CBN vowed to carry out its duties professionally, and part of it is to bring fresh, detailed reports on Pacquiao’s training leading to the fight.

“Regardless (of what happened), we continue to report on Manny Pacquiao’s activities and respect his decision to enter into any arrangement with any company regarding his fights,” said ABS-CBN.

The other day, Solar and GMA-7 held a press conference, and during a phone patch from his La Palazzo apartment from Los Angeles Pacquiao talked about the embargo deal with ABS-CBN.

“Ginawa namin yung video statement basta ang usapan itatago lang at hindi muna ilalabas (We did it based on the agreement that it was for embargo),” said Pacquiao as everybody listened.

Yesterday, GMA-7 also came out with a statement.

“GMA Network maintains that after all the recent events that happened, Manny Pacquiao made the right decision by honoring his contract with Solar Sports and more importantly, by remaining a Kapuso (a member of GMA-7 family).

Atty. Felipe Gozon, GMA-7 chairman and chief executive officer, admired Pacquiao for his courage to admit his faults.

“It shows character for a man, particularly a world champion like Manny Pacquiao, to admit and ask forgiveness for committing a mistake. It took a lot of courage to tell the truth over what happened, even if in doing so, some quarters may fault him,” Gozon said.

“We only want what is best for Manny and we wish him success in his fight against Ricky Hatton. His fight is not only for himself and his family, but for the entire country as well. He should now train hard and focus on his preparations for the fight,” Gozon said.

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