MTRCB unplugs Tulfo show
- Perseus Echeminada () - May 11, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) yesterday imposed a 20-day preventive suspension on the television program of TV5 hosted by the Tulfo brothers for threatening the life of show biz couple Raymart Santiago and Claudine Barretto.

TV5 president and CEO Ray Espinosa described the suspension as illegal and unconstitutional, saying the network will take the MTRCB to court and secure a temporary restraining order (TRO).

The suspension of the TV program was made pending the result of an ongoing adjudication hearing on the complaint against the brothers Erwin, Raffy and Ben Tulfo. If found guilty of neglect over its personnel, the MTRCB can impose sanction, fines and cancellation of the program, he said.

The MTRCB decision was handed down by a three-man panel following a closed-door deliberation that lasted for three hours and was attended by lawyers of the television network.

“For the interest of the public and to prevent further harm, the ‘T3 Kapatid Sagot Kita’ program of TV5 is suspended for 20 days effective today,” MTRCB spokesman Eugene Villareal said.

Earlier, TV5 lawyers said they will comply with the order but would seek other legal remedies.

However, in a statement on InterAksyon.com, Espinosa said that the suspension, if left unchallenged, sets a dangerous precedent with grave implications on media practice “because it violates the constitutional prohibition on prior restraint.”

“Their biggest mistake is that they confuse a news program with the anchor or talent or host – who, if he errs, becomes liable. But only the anchor or talent should be suspended. You cannot stop a news program from airing,” Espinosa said. “News shows cannot be censored or prevented from airing beforehand. That‘s unconstitutional.”

The MTRCB earlier said it has found probable cause over the complaint against the television program.

“Acting on numerous complaints from the general public and based on the board’s own monitoring, the office of the MTRCB legal counsel has found probable cause to charge the television program ‘T3 Kapatid Sagot Kita’ aired over TV5,” MTRCB chair Mary Grace Poe Llamanzares said in a statement Tuesday.

She said the TV show violated Section 3(c) of Presidential Decree No.1986 “for airing scenes and utterances that are indecent and contrary to law, or with a dangerous tendency to encourage the commission of violence, or of a wrong or crime.”

MTRCB has the authority to suspend a television program that does not comply with its standards.

The Tulfo brothers issued an apology but the MTRCB has also referred the case to the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas for proper action.

ESPINOSA EUGENE VILLAREAL KAPATID SAGOT KITA MARY GRACE POE LLAMANZARES MOVIE AND TELEVISION REVIEW AND CLASSIFICATION BOARD MTRCB PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO PROGRAM RAFFY AND BEN TULFO RAY ESPINOSA RAYMART SANTIAGO AND CLAUDINE BARRETTO
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