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CA orders Willie Revillame's arrest over child abuse case

Willie RevillameControversial comedian-TV host Willie Revillame is in hot water once again after the Court of Appeals (CA) has ordered his immediate arrest regarding the child abuse case filed against him in 2011.  The CA's ruling, written by Associate Justice Maria Luisa Quijano-Padilla, affirmed the 2013 decision of Quezon City RTC Branch 86 presiding judge Roberto Buenaventura that there is probable cause in the filing of a criminal case and the arrest of Revillame on charges of child abuse and exploitation.

The CA ruling also said that Revillame's "arrest and arraignment should now ensue so that this case may properly proceed to trial, where the merits of both parties’ evidence and allegations may be weighed."

It added that the resolution of the case "had long been delayed because of the petitioner’s refusal to submit to the trial court’s jurisdiction and his erroneous invocation of the Rules in his favor."

The charge stemmed from an incident in the prime time show, Willing Willie, aired over TV5 on March 12, 2011, where host Revillame repeatedly encouraged a six-year-old boy named Jan-Jan to perform dance moves associated with macho dancers or male strippers.  At one point, the child was raised on a hydraulic circular platform where he performed the same dance moves together with the show dancers to the delight of the studio audience.  Revillame was also heard shouting "beer pa, beer pa" during the boy's performance.  The host later gave the boy P10,000 for his performance.

Because of the poor viewership of the show, the controversial segment went unnoticed until it was uploaded on YouTube and instantly became viral.  The video drew flak from netizens including various groups like the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines and GABRIELLA as well as showbiz personalities such as Jim Paredes, Bianca Gonzalez, Lea Salonga, Aiza Seguerra, K Brosas, Agot Isidro, Mylene Dizon and Tuesday Vargas  who condemned Revillame's actions.  The online furor also prompted major sponsors to pull out advertisements from the show.  The show was eventually suspended and emerged as the reformatted Wil Time Bigtime.

After receiving several complaints from concerned citizens in connection with the segment, the Department of Social Welfare and Development decided to file charges against Revillame as the incident constituted "psychological abuse, cruelty, and emotional maltreatment of the boy and debased, degraded, and demeaned his dignity," which is a clear violation of Republic Act No. 7610, the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination Act.

On September 4, 2013, the trial court found probable cause on the crime charged and ordered Revillame’s arrest. However, Revillame elevated the case to the Court of Appeals after the motion for reconsideration he filed was denied by the lower court.

Revillame has yet to make a statement regarding the issue.  He currently hosts a Sunday game-variety show on GMA after a long hiatus on television when TV5 cancelled his show in 2013 due to poor ratings.

 

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