Bloggers unfazed by libel raps over Jan-Jan incident

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 13 2011 07:46 PM | Updated as of Apr 14 2011 03:26 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The 2 bloggers who cried foul over a 6-year-old boy gyrating on a TV show for P10,000 said they are unfazed by the libel complaint filed by the child's parents.

Froilan Grate, an environmentalist and an educator, said he believes the complaint “has no merit [and that] its sole purpose is to scare us into silence and just intimidate us.”

Grate said he will not cower in fear, even as he vowed to fight for the rights of Jan-Jan and every child who they think is being abused.

“If they think that standing for the rights of a child or children is a crime then we’d gladly go to prison for it. But, as for this case, we believe this case has no merit,” he said in an interview on ANC’s “Top Story.”

Grate drafted a petition condemning the March 12 episode of “Willing Willie” wherein Jan-Jan was shown dancing like a male stripper.

Grate submitted the complaint, which had about 350 signatories, to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and other agencies.

He also created a Facebook group, which now has around 13,000 members.

“What we believe is that the incident alone showed that it’s not the way to treat a child that’s why we acted and we submitted the petition,” he said.

When asked if he believed that JanJan’s parents were the abusers, Grate said: “We cannot say that for now. That's why we requested the help of the CHR and the DSWD to assess and be the one to finally decide on whether Jan-Jan was abused by whom.”

Along with noted child psychologist Dr. Honey Carandang and fellow blogger John Silva, Grate was named one of the respondents in the libel complaint filed at the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office by Jan-Jan’s parents, Joe and Diana Suan.

Silva, for his part, said seeing Jan-Jan gyrate like a stripper “was the filthiest thing I ever saw.”

“I just feel that this kind of filthy show shown on primetime in our country is abominable and objectionable,” he said.

He, however, denied branding TV 5 management and Willie Revillame as pedophiles. He said he “only responded” by what he saw.

The Suans blasted Silva for writing in his blog, "What do these companies, Willing Willie, Channel 5 and pedophiles have in common? They like boys doing macho dancing."

“The 3 government agencies, DSWD, CHR, and MTRCB (Movie and Television Review and Classification Board) [said] their offense is equal to the violation of Republic Act 7610 and Republic Act 7610 is a criminal act. It’s the same law [that goes after] sexual deviants, traffickers and pedophiles. That’s the connection,” he explained.

He said TV 5 should be held liable for the incident.

“They don’t want to look like the bad guy and decided they would use the parents to file a libel case against us, very clever move but it’s not going to stand.”