‘Willing Willie under attack’

CAN billionaire TV host Willie Revillame weather the storm of his own making?

The question poses itself as the Movie and Television Review and Classifications Board (MTRCB), the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and TV5 internal ombudsman launched their respective investigations into the so-called March 12 TV show incident.

It was during that date, in the “Willtime Big Time’’ segment of TV5 primetime game show ‘’Willing Willie’’, six-year old Jan-Jan Suan performed what Revillame  gleefully called a “macho dance” in exchange for P10,000. Asking the little boy to repeat foreign reports later referred to as a “simulated striptease”, Revillame then joined in the dance as the studio
audience cheered wildly.

Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman objected to Revillame leading studio audience in pushing the boy to dance some more. Soliman and nongovernmental organizations said the boy was “exploited and humiliated”.

Jan-Jan was among six contestants, aged 6 to 11, featured in that incident. Report has it that two big advertisers, including a leading food company had pulled out their TV ads from “Willing Willie”.

We are among those who believe that punitive sanctions should be imposed on the program and its hosts ranging from a reprimand to cancellation of the program itself by the TV5 management or by MTRCB. This should be apart from punitive action CHR may impose against respondents after hearing.

Our reason is that this is not the first time Revillame got in trouble as TV host by acting irresponsibly and routinely exploiting the weak and the poor.

Recall that in February 2006, 78 people died in a stampede at the Ultra where Revillame’s old ABS-CBN show, “Wowowee,” was held.

In August 2009 a boycott campaigns were mounted as a result Revillame’s outburst over the footage of President Corazon Aquino’s funeral cortege inserted in his show.

Revillame, through legal counsel, has recently  offered public apology for the March 12- incident.  While his act is commendable the same will not suffice to heal the wounds of humiliation and exploitation committed against Jan-jan. We therefore join the clamor to impose punitive action against  Revillame and  his TV program. Cornelio de Guzman

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