News anchor Arnold Clavio. Photo from the official Facebook page of 'Tonight with Arnold Clavio
'Unang Hirit' anchor asks for 'understanding'
MANILA -- "Unang Hirit" anchor Arnold Clavio on Wednesday asked for understanding for his recent interview with lawyer Atty. Alfredo Villamor, a day after the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) set a hearing with the morning program's management on the controversy.
On Tuesday night, MTRCB sent a notice to the management of "Unang Hirit" informing them of a November 11 meeting to tackle the "alarming language and scenes" in its November 5 telecast.
In that episode, Clavio spoke with Villamor on the phone regarding businesswoman Janet Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the controversial P10-billion pork barrel scam.
Clavio, who repeatedly clarified which of Napoles' cases Villamor is handling, was tagged as "rude" and "impatient" by viewers of the program on social media.
MTRCB chairperson Atty. Eugenio Villareal, speaking with ABS-CBN News' Mario Dumaual on Wednesday, said the hearing was prompted by a monitoring report of the agency's deputies, as well as by online reactions to the interview.
"Unang reaction na naririnig ko... may lumabas ngang salita na mababahala ka talaga," he said.
"But remember, this is a remedial measure conference dahil we would want it holistically," Villareal added. "Ang aming tinutuuanan ay programa, not personalities."
MTRCB chairperson Atty. Eugenio Villareal
According to Villareal, "Unang Hirit" is under the jurisdiction of the MTRCB as it is registered as a public affairs program, which was given a "Parental Guidance" (PG) rating.
Referring to Clavio's interview, the official said, "Now, 'yung segment na ito na onscreen conversation with a lawyer, per their own records ay public affairs. Eh naka-embed 'yan doon sa programang 'yun. Certainly, may posibilidad always na may mga batang manonood na baka mapulot ito at cause of concern para sa atin 'yan."
Villareal explained that the supposedly "alarming" interview will be tackled in the November 11 hearing in relation to "community standards."
"Kailangang may respeto kahit kanino man. Dahil nga ang binigay na rating dito ay PG, ibig sabihin niyan, alam nating may batang manonood. At 'yung ibibigay nating ehemplo sa kanila sa... ay kung paano tayo nakikipag-usap sa nagiging guest o nai-interview.
"And we're here actually to help dahil magandang pag-usapan na ito dahil ang segment ay nasa kalagitnaan ng public affairs program. Paano natin maso-solve? At pa'no maiiwasan? At sinong responsable? Kaya nga nagpatawag kami ng isang conference kung saan maaring ilahad ang nangyari, pa'no ma-prevent, at best practices," he said.
During the November 7 episode of "Unang Hirit," Clavio gave a statement regarding the interview, saying his only intention was to draw information from Villamor for the viewers.
"Mga Kapuso, sa mga nakapanuod po sa naging interview ko nung Martes, ang tanging intensyon po lamang tulad po ninyo ay makakuha ng impormasyon mula kay Atty. Alfredo Villamor patungkol po sa pagpunta ni Misis Janet Lim-Napoles sa Senado.
"Sa ngayon, siya lamang ang kilala naming natitirang abogado ni Janet Lim-Napoles kaya siya lamang po ang kinausap namin na umaasang makakakuha ng impormasyon tungkol sa nasabing Senate hearing," he said.
Clavio admitted he went past his "limitations," and asked for understanding for any offensive comment he had made.
"Sa sidhi kong malaman niyo ang balita, inaamin ko po na lumagpas ako sa aking limitasyon at humihingi ako ng unawa kung may nasabi man akong na wala sa lugar. Maraming salamat po," he said.