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Fiscal junks raps vs psychologist, 2 bloggers over 'Janjan' incident

MANILA, Philippines - The Quezon City prosecutor’s office has dismissed the child abuse and libel charges against a psychologist and two bloggers who criticized Willie Revillame for having a teary-eyed six-year-old boy, identified as “Janjan,” dance on his show.

Assistant City Prosecutor Oliver Almonte dismissed the complaints against Dr. Lourdes Carandang, Froilan Grate and John Silva for insufficiency of evidence.

He said the comments and remarks of the three were directed at Revillame and not at the boy’s parents, who filed the complaint.

“In fact, the statements made... aim to detest the alleged abuse committed. It was also aimed to prevent the occurrence of the subject incident in the future,” Almonte said in his resolution.

In the video of the show’s March 12, 2011 episode that was circulated on the Internet, Revillame was seen prodding the boy to continue dancing despite the boy’s tears.

Carandang, a child psychologist, wrote the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) to express her “professional assessment” of the incident.

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She said her letter to the MTRCB, was a fair comment on matters of public interest and thus could be considered privileged communication, which is protected under libel laws.

She noted that the letter did not even name the boy or his parents.

Grate, on the other hand, uploaded an edited video of the episode, which supposedly made it appear as if the boy was being forced to dance. The parents also claimed Grate created a Facebook fanpage denouncing Revillame and emailed government agencies about it.

Romel Bagares, Grate’s legal counsel, noted that under current definition of libel, such a crime could not be committed through the Internet.

Meanwhile, Silva also slammed the incident on his own Facebook page.

The parents complained that the allegation of child abuse was an imputation of vice or defect on them.

Silva said his Facebook post or any letters he wrote would not qualify as malicious since he did so out of a civic and moral duty to protect the rights of a child.

As to the allegations of child abuse, Almonte said the parents failed to show proof that the respondents were liable under the anti-child abuse law.

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