CA junks appeal vs ‘Willing Willie’ suspension

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Monday, January 20, 2014

STATE censors did the correct move when it suspended for one month the defunct game show “Willing Willie” in 2011 for its episode showing a boy gyrating like a macho dancer while being cajoled and goaded by host Willie Revillame and the audience.

Upholding its May 2013 decision, the Court of Appeals (CA) former Second Division said Revillame’s Wilproductions and TV5 had no substantial arguments in their motions for reconsideration.

The CA said the suspension imposed by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) is not a case of prior restraint of media because it was given after the controversial episode had already been aired.

“It is, instead a permissible administrative sanction that respondent may impose under its charter,” the appellate court said through Associate Justice Manuel Barrios.

There was also no violation of due process or equal protection clause, the CA added, because Revillame and TV5 were given ample opportunity to defend their side before the MTRCB, which later found the segment immoral and indecent.

It emphasized the importance of State’s role to safeguard the child’s interest, especially in this case where Revillame and the audience were teasing then six-year-old boy “Jan-Jan” even if he was already in tears.

“The child's interests are safeguarded so much so that the State, as parens patriae, takes upon itself to protect and minimize the risk of harm that may fall upon one who still has not developed his full capacity to protect himself," the CA said on January 6.

Revillame denied he ridiculed the boy during the show’s March 12, 2011 episode, which went viral on video-sharing site YouTube.

“Willing Willie” had its last airing on April 8, 2011 amid criticisms and a series of advertising pull outs made by its top sponsors.

The show changed its name to “Wiltime Bigtime” and then to “Wowowillie,” which said goodbye late last year. (Sunnex)

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