MANILA, Philippines - The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) is conducting a preliminary investigation on an incident involving a 6-year-old-boy's "macho-dancing routine" on television show "Willing Willie."
In an interview with ABS-CBN News, MTRCB chairperson Grace Poe-Llamanzares said a committee has been formed and it commenced its first hearing, which is open to the public, on Monday afternoon.
"Lahat po ng mga concerned citizens, groups na gustong makinig o kung anuman iyon, ay dito lamang sa general area ng opisinang ito," she said.
She said the committee has also invited representatives from TV5 network to participate in the proceedings.
The media, however, would not be allowed to cover the proceedings as it may "hamper the spontaneity of the people inside especially when they're playing for the camera."
"We have to respect, I guess, their right to privacy at some point," Poe-Llamanzares added.
The MTRCB chair said the hearing might last for 2 weeks as all personalities involved in the incident must be given time to be heard.
"Usually, adjudication lasts for about an hour or less but in this particular case, we have to present the opinions of several experts in the field of child care or child rearing. It might drag longer than an hour," she said.
"It can last for that long (2 weeks). That's why, if ever we come up with a statement, or kung may statement man mamaya, maaring preliminary lang muna," she added.
Poe-Llamanzares assured that MTRCB would keep the public posted through its official website.
"Maglalabas kami ng bulletin palagi, maglalabas tayo ng kung anuman ang nangyayari sa proceedings," she said.
Host Willie Revillame and his show on TV5 have drawn heavy criticisms after they showed 6-year-old Jan-Jan gyrating and impersonating the body movements of a macho dancer in exchange for P10,000.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development and several other organizations, including the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and UNICEF Philippines, have said it was child abuse and exploitation.
Amid the criticisms, Revillame’s camp and TV5 issued a public apology but they denied the allegations of child abuse and exploitation.
A party-list representative has already called for a congressional inquiry into the incident. -Report from Mario Dumaual, ABS-CBN News