MANILA - ABS-CBN journalist Ces Drilon on Saturday belied claims she victim-shamed entertainment anchor Gretchen Fullido over her administrative complaint against a former news producer for alleged sexual harassment.
In a statement, Drilon, a former news anchor, said it was "unthinkable" for her to "belittle" victims of sexual abuse as she was also a "victim of sexual harassment before."
"Throughout my life, I have been an advocate of women's rights and women's empowerment," Drilon said.
"It is unthinkable for me to say what Gretchen Fullido alleges," she said.
"I would never belittle any woman coming out to speak of any abuse committed against her. It is everything against I stand for as a woman," she said.
Fullido on Friday filed sexual harassment charges against former TV Patrol supervising producer Cheryl Favila and segment producer Maricar Asprec at the Quezon City Prosecutor's Office.
The criminal charges were filed after the ABS-CBN management found Favila liable for gross misconduct while dismissing the sexual harassment case against her, leading to her dismissal from the company, Fullido's statement read.
Fullido also filed libel charges against Drilon, ABS-CBN News executive Venancio Borromeo, and news reporter Marie Lozano, for allegedly damaging her reputation when they said her administrative complaint was a way to leverage her employment status in the network.
In a statement released by Fullido's lawyer Marvin Aceron, the TV anchor's camp alleged that Drilon resorted to victim-shaming when she said "Fullido deserved to be harassed" since the showbiz reporter was "willing to wear a bikini with an inflatable pool with bubbles to shove up the ratings of TV Patrol."
Drilon denied the allegations and described Fullido's claims as "an attack on her reputation."
"I was asked to testify in an internal, confidential investigation into Gretchen's allegations and some of what I said during the investigation have been distorted," Drilon, Content Acquisition Head of the ABS-CBN Lifestyle Ecosystem Group, said.
"I reserve the right to consider legal proceedings against these false allegations and attack on my reputation," she said.
Earlier this year, Drilon spoke at a female empowerment forum where she recounted how she experienced sexual assault herself during her early years as a reporter.
Drilon was also sexually shamed online after netizens claimed that she was "gang raped" by the Abu Sayyaf during her 2008 abduction. Drilon has repeatedly denied such claims.
In its statement, ABS-CBN said it respects Fullido’s right to pursue criminal cases against former and current co-workers.
It said that ABS-CBN takes sexual harassment allegations seriously and does not condone such acts in the workplace or by its employees. The company stressed that it acted promptly on the administrative case Fullido filed against Favila and Asprec and decided based on the evidence presented.