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THE MOVIE and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) released a statement yesterday defending its head, MTRCB chairperson Diorella “Lala” Sotto-Antonio, who it says has become “the target of alarming online attacks.”
“Over the past weeks, we have experienced an unfortunate surge in threatening messages on our official social media pages, including explicit rape and death threats directed at Chairperson Lala Sotto,” said the MTRCB statement.
The statement came with screenshots of what seem to be Messenger posts sent to the MTRCB. The names and faces of the senders were partially blurred. Most of the post seemed to be insults such as “Tangina ni Lala Sotto noh? Walang delicadeza! Ang kapal!” and “pakisabi sa chairman nyo na napakabobo niya” (“Lala Sotto is a son of a bitch, no? She has no dignity. Shameless!” and “please tell your chairman that is is so stupid”).
Other though made what seem to be threats. One post read “kailan po mamatay ang pamiliya ni lala sotto sana mauna na ung mama nia” (when will lala sotto’s family die, hopefully her mother goes first). Another read “#RapeLalaSotto,” while yet another message, which was all in emojis, included three knife emojis. One message is a photo of Ms. Sotto with the words “rest in peace” written on it along with her full name and designation, and “Died: Sept. 05, 2023.”
Some of the messages made mention of the “icing” incident which led the MTRCB to suspend the airing of the noon time show It’s Showtime (see story on this page).
The statement included messages of support for the MTRCB chairperson from her fellow board members.
“(She) is a dedicated public servant who has spent her career advocating for responsible and inclusive media content. She has consistently championed the importance of media content that respects cultural sensitivities while contributing positively to the Philippine entertainment industry,” said MTRCB Vice-Chairman Njel De Mesa.
“No Filipino deserves such kind of unfounded personal attack. We must not resort to personal attacks because our agency is just doing its mandate. We are happy that our Chair is very active in discharging the functions of our office based on existing laws,” the statement quoted MTRCB Executive Director II Atty. Mamarico Sansarona, Jr.
The statement says that while the MTRCB “recognizes the importance of constructive criticism and open dialogue, it strongly condemns any form of threats, harassment, or violence, both online and offline. Such behavior is not only illegal but also runs counter to the principles of a Filipino value-based media and entertainment culture that the MTRCB upholds.”
It does not say if the MTRCB or its chairperson will pursue legal relief. — Brontë H. Lacsamana