MTRCB lifts T3 suspension, TV5 guarantees no repeat of Tulfo brothers' on-air comments
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MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE: 5:40 PM) The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) on Wednesday agreed to lift the 20-day preventive suspension on the Tulfo brothers’ news and public affairs program “T3” on TV5, while continuing hearings on the case arising from remarks by the program hosts against actor Raymart Santiago, who figured in an airport brawl with their elder brother Ramon on May 6.
The lifting of the suspension, to take effect Thursday, arose from a settlement between the Kapatid network and the MTRCB, which TV5 haled before the Court of Appeals in a petition for certiorari assailing the preventive suspension of the program as a form of prior restraint. This, TV5 officers stressed, was prohibited by the Constitution.
As its undertaking in the settlement, TV5 promised to prevent a repeat of the May 7 incident—that is, ensure that the Tulfos (Raffy, Ben and Erwin) will not comment again on the Ramon-Tulfo-Raymart Santiago case in T3, or on the MTRCB’s order itself.
MTRCB, meanwhile, underscored that the CA hearing ended with the court’s denial of TV5’s application for a temporary restraining order (TRO) to stop the MTRCB from continuing to enforce its preventive suspension order that began last Thursday.
“Upon demand by MTRCB in open court, TV5 vows not to repeat violation.” This was how MTRCB spokesman Atty. Toto Villareal recounted the court hearing.
TV5 was represented by lawyers led by the network’s Head of Legal, Atty. Christine Ona.
Meantime, MTRCB hearings on the case continue notwithstanding the lifting of the preventive suspension. TV5 last week said the preventive suspension constituted prior restraint because MTRCB had no power to suspend a news and public affairs program, unlike an entertainment show.
TV5 counsel Jay Tolosa said the Court of Appeals had yet to act on the network's petition to stop MTRCB from conducting further hearings.
CA justices query State lawyers
Earlier on Wednesday at the hearing, justices of the Court of Appeals questioned the MTRCB decision to suspend the public affairs show solely on the basis of remarks made by its hosts, the Tulfo brothers.
"Why would you let the program suffer and not the host alone?” CA Presiding Justice Andres Reyes asked government lawyers.
The Office of the Solicitor-General explained that the MTRCB has no jurisdiction over the host.
"Why let the show suffer if one of the hosts goes berserk?" Associate Justice Sesinando Villon said.
Government lawyers said this is not the first time that the Tulfo brothers made an unruly remark in their show and noted that the network had suspended the brothers for only three days.
"But they have apologized. Are you saying they should be further investigated?” Reyes asked.
The government lawyers said the network should have done something when the brothers were making the remarks, such as turning off the microphone or the monitor.
"Turning off the monitor? Are these part of the rules of the trade?" Reyes asked. The Presiding Justice asked that the parameters be laid down clearly first before a show is axed.