MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Broadcast Communication of the University of the Philippines is calling for the resignation of Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) chairperson Diorella “Lala” Sotto-Antonio amid the agency’s sanctions on “It’s Showtime.”
In a statement posted on its Facebook page Tuesday, the UP department expressed dismay at Sotto, saying she “evidently compromised her position and objectivity as a public official” when her agency meted a 12- airing day suspension on “It’s Showtime” — a decision that, it said, “lacked wisdom and discernment.”
“While our stand is not about a specific program, MTRCB’s recent imposition of a 12-day airing suspension on ABS-CBN’s noontime show ‘It’s Showtime’ is a clear demonstration of the point about the agency’s lack of wisdom and discernment. We assert that this sanction is nothing but severe,” the statement read.
“We also call for the resignation of MTRCB Chair Diorella Maria ‘Lala’ Sotto, whose pronouncements on national TV evidently compromised her position and objectivity as a public official,” it further stated.
The UP Department of Broadcast Communications is under the state university’s interdisciplinary College of Mass Communication that caters to the study of the broadcast industry and broadcast production.
At the center of the controversy were the alleged “indecent acts” committed on air by “It’s Showtime” hosts Vice Ganda and his co-host and real-life partner Ion Perez.
The group also found appalling The MTRCB under Sotto’s “consistent failure to be responsive to the times, as reflected by its unnecessary interventions on TV programs, and, in general, its pointlessness in today’s media environment.”
At the same time, the UP department also called for the abolition of MTRCB, saying it has become “regressive,” with the board illustrating its “proclivity for censorship and high-handedness.”
“A vestige of a regime of control and oppression, it proves, time and again, its being a bastion of conservatism. Its utter disregard for the show’s labor force which will be taking the brunt of the suspension contradicts any attempt at promoting sensitivity. It is outmoded and an exercise in futility,” it said.
“We append our collective voices to past and current calls for its abolition, or if at all, transformation into an information and media literacy agency that advances critical, intelligent, liberating, and sensible media production and audienceship, much needed in this milieu of orchestrated ignorance and disinformation.
In many instances, the UP department said, the MTRCB has regarded itself as an arbiter of media morality rather than an advocate for its motto on being an “intelligent and responsible viewer.”
“It has not reinvented the institution by encouraging ingenuity nor driven increased self-regulation in broadcast media.”
INQUIRER.net sought the reaction of the MTRCB, but it said that it will not issue any comment at this time.
On Monday, Sept. 4, the MTRCB imposed the suspension of “It’s Showtime” for 12 airing days following complaints of the hosts’ mentions of sexual terms and alleged inappropriate actions.
Voting for suspension
The MTRCB clarified in a subsequent statement that Sotto inhibited herself from voting for suspension. She further clarified in an interview on “24-Oras” on GMA that her decision to recuse herself from voting was to allow the board members to “exercise their independent judgment.”
Sotto is the daughter of former Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, who hosts “EAT,” a competing noontime show.
ABS-CBN said on Tuesday that it will file a motion for reconsideration as it alleged that there was no violated law.