MANILA, Philippines?Psychologist Ma. Lourdes Carandang has denied allegations she was part of a move to attack television host Willie Revillame because of her criticism of how he had treated a six-year-old boy on his show.
In a statement, Carandang said that when she spoke out about the treatment that the boy received, she was merely expressing her opinion, which was solicited by the Commission on Human Rights and the Movie and TV Review and Classification Board.
Carandang said that the boy had undergone abuse, and called on the MTRCB to impose sanctions on the host and the program.
In the show, the teary-eyed boy was made to dance as Revillame cracked jokes. The boy was later given P10,000 for his effort. TV 5 and Revillame have since apologized, while the boy's parents said that he had wanted to appear on TV to dance, and was only crying because he was scared of a tall man he saw on the set.
?In recent days, it has been insinuated by the lawyers of Revillame that I am part of some grand conspiracy to 'bring down' Revillame and his TV program. This is simply not true. I merely expressed an opinion as solicited by the CHR and the MTRCB,? Carandang said.
She said that in her more than 30 years as a practicing professional, she has worked with groups such as Unicef, Ausaid, International Labor Organization, Rockefeller Foundation, ABS-CBN Foundation and the Center of Excellence in Public Elementary Education, among others.
?The actions I take are mine and are shared by the members of the MLAC Institute for Children and Families. Our main mission is to uphold the dignity of the Filipino child and to advocate for truth-telling,? she added.
Revillame's lawyer, Leonard De Vera, questioned the Department of Social Welfare and Development's decision to make Carandang speak with the boy. De Vera noted that Carandang's MLAC Institute for Children and Families was funded by the rival network ABS-CBN, and that Carandang worked for ABS-CBN. Her son, Ricky Carandang, also used to work for the Lopez-owned network, De Vera added.
Revillame is embroiled in a bitter dispute with ABS-CBN over his move to TV 5.
Revillame used to host a variety show on ABS-CBN.
Carandang, in her statement, pointed out that she has been working pro-bono with the DSWD for several years. She has provided counseling to victims of disaster, violent crimes, sexual abuse and people with other problems.
She said she wrote to the MTRCB on April 3, upon its request, so that she could express her sentiments on the boy's experience.
?It is my belief, as a clinical psychologist, parent, and TV viewer that the treatment of that child on the program was indeed a form of abuse. It is a view that is apparently shared by a significant number of people both here and now abroad,? she said.
Last week, the CHR also invited her to a round-table discussion on the "Willing Willie" program so that she could share her expertise on child abuse.