MANILA — The problems of controversial host of TV5 “Willing Willie” Willie Revillame is compounded as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) joined other groups and formally filed a case against him.
At least two government officials and running priest Fr. Robert Reyes have joined others as they filed another child abuse complaint against Revillame before the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office.
Reyes, Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman and Assistant Secretary for Luzon Parisya Taradji, officer in charge-executive director for the Council for the Welfare of Children, singled out Revillame in their complaint sparing business tycoon and TV5 owner Manny Pangilinan and its other executives.
The three were also joined by environmentalist Froilan Grate, advertising executive Frances Irene Bretana and blogger Noemi Lardizabal-Dado in filing the complaints for violation of Republic Act 7610 otherwise known as the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.
If convicted, Revillame would face imprisonment of six years and one day to eight years, as provided for in Section 10 of RA 7610.
Revillame’s counsel, Leonard de Vera, meanwhile, has urged those who are condemning the show to watch the entirety of the segment and not just the YouTube video.
“The boy is well and fine. If only those who are quick to condemn Willie would only view the entire 48 minutes TV episode of the boy and not view merely the spliced and tampered YouTube tape, they will be enlightened and spare the boy the stigma of unjustly branding him as an ‘abused child’ for the rest of his life,” he said.
In the DSWD complaint, Revillame was charged for violation of Republic Act No. 7610, otherwise known as the ‘Special protection of Children against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.’
This is in connection with the show’s March 12 episode where a six-year old boy was made to dance provocatively while tears streamed down his face.
“The huge public outcry against the video clip of the episode, which continues to spread via the internet, was a wake-up call for everyone. The resulting publicity on the incident propelled concerned individuals, parents, and non-government organizations to look at child abuse as an all-important issue,” DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said.
“This also led government agencies and child rights advocates to step up their campaign for the promotion of children’s welfare and the protection of their rights. Likewise, media practitioners and advertisers were compelled to re-examine their policies and practices relative to shows which involve children and youth,” she added.
Revillame extended the two-week suspension of his show for a few more days even as his co-host Shalani Soledad stood firm that the show will resume shortly.
Soledad, who is a councilor in Valenzuela City, defended Revillame, adding that show will be better when it resumes in the Kapatid channel.
Earlier, the parents of the boy in the controversial dance portion of the show filed complaints against the accusers of Revillame, saying the television host and singer actually are helping many people like them and the boy was never forced to do the dance.
Soliman stressed that the decision to charge Revillame was done with much deliberation and fully cognizant of the need to protect the child and his family.
She added that from a policy perspective, as lead agency in social welfare and development, the DSWD intensified our coordination with concerned agencies and stakeholders for the protection and promotion of the rights of children.
“We are filing this case because it is our job. We do this for all cases of child abuse that we come across, and we provide services to everyone who needs our help. There is no political angle here; neither is there any hidden agenda, as some quarters may allege. Our main concern is to promote the welfare of the child and his family, and others who are or may be placed in a similar situation,” Soliman stressed.
The DSWD chief also said that their preventive and rehabilitative services to children include child protective services, therapy, alternative family care, special social services for children in armed conflict, and rehabilitation services for children in conflict with the law.