MTRCB considers suspension of ‘Willing Willie’


THE Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) is expected to rule on Thursday, April 7, on the controversy over the March 12 episode of  TV5’s early evening variety show “Willing Willie” where host Willie Revillame goaded a tearful six-year old boy, Jan-Jan Suan, into doing a sexually suggestive dance while the audience laughed at him.

But if for some reasons they would have to delay the ruling, MTRCB Chair Grace Poe-Llamanzares said, “There are talks of a preventive suspension. That’s one option.”

Another MTRCB official, who asked not to be named because he was not the authorized spokesperson, said, “There’s no question about the suspension. What is being discussed is for how long.”

The source said they are discussing a suspension that could range from a minimum of one week to a maximum of one month.

Llamanzares said some may question the need for a preventive suspension when TV5 has already introduced regulatory measures in the show.  But she said some members of the Board believe that TV5  has to be penalized for the March 12 episode which Social Services Secretary Dinky Soliman and Human Rights Commission Chair Loretta Rosales said was a violation of  the law against child abuse (Republic Act No. 7610).


The unnamed MTRCB official said, “The suspension would be a message that the Board won’t tolerate shows that denigrate human dignity especially when it involves children.”

“Willing Willie” is a co-production venture between host Revillame and TV5.

The MTRCB source noted that TV5’s statement of apology referred to the March 12 show “which viewers may have found offensive or in bad taste.”

“They (network officials), themselves, didn’t find it offensive,” he said.

MTRCB’s Hearing and Adjudication Committee started the preliminary conference Monday. The process entailed getting the side of TV5, the statements from the Department of Social Welfare and Development and Commission on Human Rights, and inputs from psychologist Honey Carandang.

TV5’s  Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Robert V. Barreiro reported to the Committee the regulatory measures the network has undertaken, including imposing stricter guidelines on the appearance and performance of minors, particularly, children on all TV5 programs; requiring that all auditions of TV5 programs be supervised by representatives designated by the TV5 Ombudsman; appointing an internal Ombudsman to entertain complaints regarding offensive programs; imposing a moratorium on contests and game shows involving minors; creating a Standards Advisory Board to be composed, among others, of a psychologist, a creative director, and a children’s communications expert; and engaging the services of a team of psychologists to attend to Jan-Jan’s needs.

There is an active campaign in Facebook to boycott advertisers of “Willing Willie.” Jollibee’s Mang Inasal has suspended its ad placement in the show.