MANILA—ABS-CBN News anchor Gretchen Fullido's sexual harassment case against a former news executive and a segment producer is "fabricated" and an "example of discrimination" against the gay community, the respondents' legal counsel said Saturday.
Evalyn Ursua, counsel for former TV Patrol supervising producer Cheryl Favila and segment producer Maricar Asprec, called Fullido's allegations "baseless" and vowed to defend her clients against what she branded as an "abuse of the right to file a sexual harassment complaint."
"Her baseless complaint is also a classic example of discrimination against LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and queer) individuals and gender stereotyping against them in matters of sexuality," Ursua, known for prosecuting US Marines whom a Filipino woman charged with rape in 2005, said in a statement.
Fullido on Friday filed criminal charges against Favila and Asprec, alleging they "sent her text messages that were loaded with sexual innuendos, which amounted to requests for sexual favors."
The anchor's camp had said 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.
Ursua, meanwhile, said ABS-CBN dismissed the sexual harassment charge "after Favila and Asprec proved that the text messages that Fullido used as evidence were distorted and maliciously taken out of their conversation threads."
"While it pains me to go against another woman in a sexual harassment case, I welcome the opportunity to rise to the defense of two women who are wrongly accused," she said.
Fullido also filed libel charges against ABS-CBN journalist Ces Drilon, news executive Venancio Borromeo, and news reporter Marie Lozano.
Drilon on Saturday issued a statement denying Fullido's claim that she "victim-shamed" the entertainment reporter.
ABS-CBN, in a statement, said it respects Fullido’s right to pursue criminal complaints against former and current co-workers.
"ABS-CBN takes sexual harassment allegations seriously and does not condone such acts in the workplace or by its employees," the network said.
It said "the company took prompt action on the administrative complaint" Fullido filed against Favila and Asprec and "decided based on the evidence presented," the statement read.