AFTER weeks of being bombarded with criticism on various Internet social networking sites, controversial television show host Willie Revillame on Wednesday was slapped twin criminal complaints before the Quezon City Prosecutors Office in connection with the episode of Willing Willie where a six-year old boy was made to dance provocatively while tears streamed down his face.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and a group concerned citizens lodged their respective complaints for violation of Republic Act 7610, or the Anti-Child Abuse Law, against Revillame.
With the filing of the two complaints, Revillame, who hosts Willing Willie aired over TV5, now faces three separate child abuse complaints stemming from the case of Jan-Jan Suan.
Social Welfare Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman and Assistant Secretary for Luzon Parisya Taradji, officer-in-charge for the Council for the Welfare of Children, filed the case on behalf of the DSWD. Running priest Fr. Robert Reyes, Froilan Grate, Frances Irene Bretana and Noemi Lardizabal filed the case on behalf of the private sector.
The complainants only named Revillame as the sole respondent in the child abuse complaints because according to them, the crime is “a single act of abuse”.
In a statement, the Social Welfare department maintained that filing the case was their job and that there was no political angle to it whatsoever.
“We do this for all cases of child abuse that we come across, and we provide services to everyone who needs our help,” it said.
The department added that its 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.
In a separate interview, lawyer Nancy Quimpo of the Social Welfare department said that they have the right to pursue the case against Revillame even if the parents of Jan-Jan refuse to do so.
“In line with our mandate of providing preventive, protective, rehabilitative and developmental programs and services, we also provided psychosocial interventions to the child and his family,” she said.
The parents of Jan-Jan –Joe and Diana- maintained that their child was not subjected to abuse and that they will never allow that to happen.
The couple even filed a libel complaint against child psychologist Ma. Lourdes Carandang, blogger John Silva, Grate and several others that posted their comments in Facebook that made their child the poster boy for child abuse.
Carandang were among those who said that the rights of Jan-Jan as a child might have been violated during one of the episodes of Willing Willie.
“As a clinical psychologist, parent and TV viewer, it is my belief that the treatment of that child on the program was indeed a form of abuse. It is a view that is apparently shared by a significant number of people both here and now abroad,” Carandang said in an earlier statement.
On Monday, child rights advocates filed a complaint against Revillame and other executives of television network TV5.
The Stop Child Rights Exploitation in Media (SCREAM) also named as respondents Manny Pangilinan, Associated Broadcasting Company owner; Rey Espinosa, TV5 president and chief executive officer; Roberto Barreiro, executive vice president and chief operating officer; Jojo Jardeleza, TV director; Rackie Sevilla, executive producer, and Adrian Gret, segment producer, for violation of RA 7610.