MANILA -- An alliance of artists and media practitioners on Sunday slammed the leaders of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) for its supposed attempt to "censor" the hit TV series "FPJ's Ang Probinsyano."
The group LODI or Let's Organize for Democracy and Integrity said it is the administration itself, and not the ABS-CBN action drama, that demoralizes the police force when it continues to be involved in alleged killings under the drug war.
PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde earlier blasted "Ang Probinsyano" for its supposed "unfair portrayal" of the police force. DILG Secretary Eduardo Año backed the PNP chief and said it is eyeing legal action against the makers of the show.
"Both Albayalde and Año claim that the story of 'Ang Probinsyano' demoralizes the ranks of policemen in this country. They should look for a mirror and join President Duterte in staring at it," LODI said in a statement.
"If there’s anyone who demoralizes law enforcers, it is this regime that presides over an orgy of extrajudicial killings both in the cities and the countryside," the group added, urging Albayalde and Año to resign and just apply as the show's scriptwriters instead.
LODI believes this move by the police could be a "trial balloon" for future attempts to crack down the media and the arts, citing that "Ang Probinsyano" is aired by a ABS-CBN, a network Duterte wishes to be denied a legislative franchise.
The PNP on Saturday ordered its men to "immediately refrain from assisting, to withdraw their support to the production" of "Ang Probinsyano," a TV series that stars Coco Martin as a former police officer Cardo Dalisay.
"The attempted censorship of 'Ang Probinsyano' could be a trial balloon for future attempts of the Duterte regime to crack down on media and the arts, just because the fictional story headlined by Cardo Dalisay is different from what the regime wants us to believe," LODI warned.
"But while Albayalde and Año occupy positions of power, they should know their proper place and obligation: To defend the constitutional right to free expression, even when it is deemed inconvenient or critical," the group added.
ABS-CBN has already issued a statement following the PNP and DILG's remarks, emphasizing that "elements of the series are "purely fictitious as stated in the disclaimer aired at the start of the show every night."
"There is no intention to smear the reputation of any organization or portray any person in a negative light," ABS-CBN said.
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