Willing Willie Case: MTRCB changes hearing panel

It is starting to appear that the Willing Willie/Willie Revillame “child abuse” case is challenging the integrity of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).

Responding to the TV5's counsel's allegation of impartiality of members of its Hearing and Adjudication Committee, and obviously for `delicadeza,´ the MTRCB on Friday announced that it has changed the composition of the investigating panel.

TV5 represented by the ACCRA Law, a Makati-based law firm, in a statement Thursday said “the creation and composition of the present panel do not afford TV5 due process, particularly its right to be heard by an impartial tribunal...”

The counsel of the respondent alleged that “all 3 panel members are conflicted as they have close links or relationships with a rival network involved in legal cases with TV5 and Willie Revillame.”

MTRCB, several hours after the April 7 hearing, posted in its website an announcement from chairperson Mary Grace Poe Llamanzares. It read:
“In today’s hearing of the case against “Willing Willie” about the child abuse incident in its 12 March 2011 episode, counsel for respondent Associated Broadcasting Company (ABC TV5) raised the issue of alleged impartiality of the members of the Board’s Hearing and Adjudication Committee.

Even as I affirm the integrity of the Members of the Hearing and Adjudication Committee, I regretfully accept their voluntary inhibition in order to dispel any doubt as to their impartiality. Effective immediately, a new Hearing and Adjudication Committee is hereby constituted to determine the guilt or innocence of the respondents in this “Willing Willie” case.

The change in the composition of the Committee is to assure the public that the Board will only be guided by established facts and the law in the disposition of this case. This is also to avoid any attempt to further delay the expeditious resolution of the case.”
With the recent developments, the decision of MTRCB on Willie's case as we see it may not come early.