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Willie Revillame’s woes over ‘macho dancing’ kid continue

By: - Reporter
/ 06:40 PM May 30, 2013

WILLIE Revillame. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—After two years, controversy still hounds TV host Willie Revillame over a gameshow episode that turned a tearful six-year-old boy into a reluctant “macho dancer.’’

A Quezon City court is set to hear a child abuse case against Revillame for allegedly “exploiting the vulnerability of a minor” during a segment of the March 12, 2011 edition of his now defunct TV5 show ‘’Willing Willie.’’

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Pursued by the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Council for the Welfare of Children, the case was raffled off Monday to QC Regional Trial Court Branch 86, under Judge Roberto Buenaventura.

In a May 17 resolution, prosecutor Benjamin Samson said he found probable cause to charge Revillame with violating the Anti-Child Abuse Act, saying the celebrity, who “should have been prudent” in dealing with a minor, “unwittingly exposed (the boy) to mockery and humiliation.”

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Shortly after the Willing Willie episode aired, a clip of the segment went viral and caused an uproar as it showed the TV host coaxing the boy to do sexually suggestive dance moves a la macho dancer. The boy was seen crying as he did what he was told.

According to the complaint, the boy was made to perform the same dance five times during the show.

Samson, however, cleared the other respondents from TV5, namely the network’s board chairman, Manuel V. Pangilinan; president and chief executive officer Ray Espinosa; executive vice president and chief operating officer Roberto Barreiro; Willing Willie director Jojo Jardeleza; the show’s executive producer Rackie Sevilla; and segment producer Adrian Gret.

In his counter-affidavit, Revillame maintained that Willing Willie was a wholesome, family-oriented show and that he had no participation in the audition of contest participants.

He also explained that the boy cried because he got scared of one of the co-hosts, the towering Bonel Balingit, a former professional basketball player.

Revillame insisted that there was nothing obscene, immoral or malicious in the boy’s dance performance, which he called the “body wave,” and that the boy’s parents themselves had stated that they found nothing abusive about it.

But Samson noted that while Revillame did not take part in the audition for studio contestants, he had full control of what went on in the show itself. “Clearly the totality of events that transpired during the show reveals that Revillame directly participated and was responsible in committing child abuse,” he said.

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Originally posted at 06:01 pm | Thursday, May 30, 2013

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