TV5's legal team fights back; questions MTRCB's jurisdiction over Willing Willie issue

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"Apparently, the YouTube and Facebook videos were deliberately spliced and edited to put the program Willing Willie and its host Willie Revillame, as well as the program's live audience, in the worst possible light," argued TV5's lawyers concerning the controversy created by Willing Willie's March 12 episode.


Isang statement ang ipinadala ng TV5 sa PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) ngayong araw, April 7, sa pamamagitan ng e-mail.

May kaugnayan pa rin ito sa lumalaking kontrobersiya na nagsimula matapos na kumalat ang video ng March 12 episode ng primetime variety-game show na Willing Willie, na kung saan ay nagsayaw ng isang "sexy" dance number ang six-year-old contestant na nakilala sa pangalang Jan-Jan Suan. (CLICK HERE to read related article.)

Nagkaroon ng hearing kaninang hapon, April 7, sa tanggapan ng Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).

Layunin ng nasabing hearing na mabigyan ng linaw at marinig ang panig ng mga involved sa usapin na siya ring gagamiting batayan para matimbang kung anong klaseng aksyon ang ipapataw ng MTRCB laban sa programa at sa main host nito na si Willie Revillame.

Ikinatuwiran ng kampo ng TV5 na ang napanood sa YouTube at iba pang file at video sharing websites ay pinutol-putol na at hindi nagpapakita ng kabuuang pangyayari na nasaksihan ng mga studio audience ng araw na iyon.

Sinabi rin ng istasyon na ang ipinakitang sayaw ni Jan-Jan sa Willing Willie ay hindi na bago at ang gano'ng istilo ng pagsasayaw ay ginagawa rin sa mga pangkaraniwang okasyon, katulad ng fiesta at mga pribadong pagdiriwang.

Bilang pangwakas ay hinamon ng mga abogado ng TV5 ang MTRCB na kung talagang layunin ng ahensiya ang makapagpalabas ng kaukulang kautusan para mabantayan ang partisipasyon ng mga menor de edad sa anumang programa ay dapat isama rin ang ibang istasyon at maging ang KBP (Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas) sa imbestigasyon.

Narito ang kabuuang pahayag ng TV5 tungkol sa isinagawang imbestigasyon ngayong araw:

"At today's hearing of the Complaint against TV5 for the airing of the 'Wiltime Bigtime' segment of Willing Willie episode on 12 March 2011, TV5 represented by ACCRA Law, argued that the MTRCB has no jurisdiction over the subject matter, particularly that the Complaint is a direct accusation of alleged acts of child abuse, which is criminal in nature.

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"Even assuming the MTRCB has jurisdiction, the creation and composition of the present panel do not afford TV5 due process, particularly its right to be heard by an impartial tribunal, considering that all 3 panel members are conflicted as they have close links or relationships with a rival network involved in legal cases with TV5 and Willie Revillame.

"Furthermore, it was found that this rival network has also aired dance numbers of children with very similar dance movements as those of Jan Jan's. These dance performances aired in the other network were presented to the MTRCB at today's hearing.

"TV5 also submitted its report to the MTRCB on its internal investigation into the incident involving the six-year-old boy Jan Jan Suan who performed a dance number on the program Willing Willie.

"A key finding of the investigation was that the versions of the incident that were circulated on YouTube and Facebook were substantially different from what actually took place and was aired on the TV program. While the segment where Jan Jan appeared spanned a period of 48 minutes in the actual show, the YouTube and Facebook versions lasted for only around ten minutes or less.

"Apparently, the YouTube and Facebook videos were deliberately spliced and edited to put the program Willing Willie and its host Willie Revillame, as well as the program's live audience, in the worst possible light. They made it seem as if Jan Jan was crying throughout his performance, as if the boy had been coerced, and as if Revillame had acted callously to humiliate the young contestant.

"In fact, the full, unedited recording of the program showed that Jan Jan was clearly and more often 'emoting' while dancing and that when he did cry it was because of the intimidating presence of Bonel Balingit and because he had lost in the game portion of the show. In the unedited version, it was plainly obvious that Jan Jan had not been forced to dance against his will. For his part, Revillame was very favorably impressed by Jan Jan's performance and sought to praise and celebrate rather than put him down.

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"In the context of the full performance of Jan Jan on Willing Willie, it is exceedingly clear that he was not coerced in any way; that his performance was not lewd or obscene.

"The Complaint speaks of gyrating movements which, however, are not obscene per se nor suggestive of a sexual or immoral act. Indeed such movements are part of a dance form called 'body wave.' The 'body wave' is no different from the familiar dance moves we have been accustomed to today, such as the 'lambada,' 'belly dancing' and the 'spaghetti' dance.

"As far as the minor is concerned, he is exhibiting a dance movement. In fact, body wave dancing has become part and parcel of Philippine pop culture. In many town fiestas and private gatherings, adults allow their children to dance in this manner.

"Finally, if indeed the MTRCB sees it fit to impose further regulations on performances and appearance of minors in television programs, then its inquiry and/or investigation should involve all networks, the KBP, and the MTRCB. Thereafter, new rules, standards or guidelines to govern or even prohibit minors from performing or appearing in television programs may be formulated."


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