The online news portal of TV5
MANILA, Philippines – Saying the preventive suspension of a news and public affairs program is illegal and unconstitutional, TV5 president and CEO Ray C. Espinosa said on Thursday the Kapatid network will take to court the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) over its suspension order against the T3 show of the Tulfo brothers.
In separate interviews with TV5’s Head of News and Public Affairs Luchie Cruz-Valdes and news host Cheryl Cosim, lawyer Espinosa said the MTRCB's suspension order, if left unchallenged, sets a dangerous precedent, with grave implications on media practice because it violates the constitutional prohibition on prior restraint.
He said TV5 will go to court on Friday and try to secure a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the 20-day preventive suspension that the MTRCB’s three-man investigating panel announced on Thursday morning, even while the panel stressed it had not prejudged the guilt of any party in the case.
“Their [MTRCB] biggest mistake is they confuse a news program with the anchor or talent or host---who, if he errs, becomes liable. But only the anchor or talent should be suspended. You cannot stop a news program from airing,” said Espinosa. “News shows cannot be censored, or prevented from airing beforehand. That’s unconstitutional. We will file a case in court to question the MTRCB order,” he added.
The Tulfo brothers---Raffy, Ben and Erwin---were taken to task for remarks, deemed threatening, against actor Raymart Santiago just before they turned over T3 to TV5 lawyer-legal commentator Mel Sta. Maria on Monday to interview older brother Ramon.
Veteran newsman Ramon had figured in an airport brawl with Raymart, several of his friends, and his wife Claudine Barretto on Sunday after Tulfo refused the celebrity couple’s demand to turn over a cellular phone he had used to document Claudine’s outburst against Cebu Pacific ground crew over he offloaded luggage.
Espinosa said the MTRCB action against T3 was arbitrary and unconstitutional, and overstepped its powers. While it could sanction entertainers or individual talents, it had no power to stop the airing of news programs like T3, said Espinosa.
As for the three younger Tulfos, “we gave them a chance to explain since Monday’s incident, and our independent disciplinary committee imposed a suspension on them till Friday (May 11),” said Espinosa. The suspension covers all their programs on TV and radio.
“We meted out disciplinary action on the hosts, but MTRCB’s action to suspend the news program is uncalled for,” he added. Even while it goes to court, however, the Kapatid network will “first have to comply with MTRCB order [suspending T3 from airing]” until it can get a TRO against the MTRCB. “Only the courts can stop their order from taking effect,” said the TV5 chief.
InterAksyon.com is the online news portal of TV5.