MANILA - A spokeswoman of the Aquino family on Friday issued a strongly worded rebuke against "Wowowee" host Willie Revillame for ordering the removal of the video of President Corazon Aquino’s cortege, which was being beamed live simultaneously with the noontime show last Monday.
A statement from Dee Dee Siytangco, spokesperson of the Aquino family, read: "It is regrettable and a crass attempt to desecrate the memory of the beloved Tita Cory."
On Monday a visibly irked Revillame ordered the immediate removal of the livestream video of Aquino's cortege, which was being shown simultaneously with his show.
The controversial host explained that it was inappropriate to broadcast it while they were having fun inside the studio. He added that it would be hard for him to make the public happy when he could see on screen the casket of Mrs. Aquino.
"Paano kami makakapagsaya [kung] nahihirapan kami? Huwag niyo akong papagalitan kasi totoo ang sinasabi ko. Pagkatapos ng show, ipakita niyo ang gusto niyong ipalabas. Kasi itong ‘Wowowee’ gusto ko, at alam din ni Tita Cory dahil napasaya rin siya ng show na ito, [dapat] laging masaya dito," Revillame said.
His staff immediately removed the live streaming from the screen.
No bad intention
The host later apologized on television for his action and said he had no intention of hurting anyone's feelings.
“Sa sitwasyon na ito, kung may nasaktan ako, I'm sorry. Sa pamilya Aquino, alam ng buong pamilya Aquino [na] wala akong masamang intention doon. Ayaw ko pong nagsasaya tayo dito, mayroon tayong labi na nakikita sa TV," he said on Tuesday.
He said that prior to the incident, he called ABS-CBN entertainment production head Linggit Tan asking her to remove the live streaming. He told Tan that he does not want to come across as someone without a conscience.
“Nakakahiya. Sabi ko, ‘ako ang nakaharap sa camera. Sa akin magagalit.’ Nagsasaya [ako]. Akala niyo wala akong konsensiya,” he said.
He said he only reacted after he saw the funeral procession again on the screen.
He also divulged that before the airing of his Monday show, he even told ABS-CBN management that he was willing to give way to the live coverage of Mrs. Aquino’s funeral.
The host appealed for the understanding of the public.
Revillame's action condemned
Revillame's action drew instant criticism from various quarters. In their Facebook accounts, some people branded it as “utterly disrespectful,” “really bad,” and “damn stupid.”
One online commentator wrote: "Very rude action on national tv. I condemn this act to the fullest. Very insensitive." Some, however, said ABS-CBN management was equally to blame for allowing "Wowowee" to air while Aquino's procession was ongoing.
An online petition, which has gathered 9,709 signatures as of 3 p.m. Friday, urged ABS-CBN management to sanction Revillame for his arrogance and for showing a bad example to the youth. It also urged advertisers to stop supporting "Wowowee" until Revillame is removed as host.
The Alyansa ng Filipinong Mamamahayag (Afima) also issued a statement condemning Revillame's action as a "blasphemy of democracy" and urged the Movie and Televisions Review and Classification Board to sanction the TV host.
"He may have the right to demand it, but he never waited until the next commercial break to quietly do it. He expressed his angst against Corazon Aquino funeral being shown side by side his “Wowowee” right before the dumbstruck millions of Filipino viewers around the globe," Afima said.