By Ben Rosario
Gabriela Women’s Partylist lawmakers Saturday urged the cast and producers of the television series “Ang Probinsyano” to firmly stand their ground in fighting off any attempt of censorship being pursued by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Philippine National Police (PNP) against the popular TV program.
Gabriela partylist Representatives Emi de Jesus and Arlene Brosas, criticized the DILG and PNP for exerting pressure on probably the longest-running TV series aired in the country.
The TV action drama that portrays the story of model cop Ricardo Dalisay played by actor Coco Martin is aired on weekdays on ABS-CBN Channel 2.
DILG and PNP officials have strongly objected to the portrayal of corrupt police officers as the villains in the series.
The DILG-PNP aired its objections against the TV program even as certain administration officials have vowed to block the approval of ABS-CBN’s request for extension of its legislative franchise.
ABS-CBN has been in the crosshairs of President Rodrigo Duterte who has claimed being unfairly criticized by the network in its news and public affairs programs.
The network’s legislative franchise will expire in 2020, with network executives taking urgent moves to have it extended by the pro-Duterte Congress.
“It is ridiculous that the DILG, under the notorious former general Eduardo Ano, is even “seriously considering” legal actions against the producers of the show,” Gabriela partylist said in a press statement.
The partylist group added: “This is censorship, as it amounts to creating prior restraint on the part of the producers in sustaining the storyline of the show.”
Gabriela warned that such move will “set a very dangerous precedent” since the DILG could easily “abuse legal actions to sanction shows and content that are inconsistent with its desired image of the PNP.”
“Instead of dangling the whip on “Ang Probinsyano,” the DILG should instead pursue cases and convict cops who have been tagged in sex-for-freedom cases, rape, sexual harassment, extortion, extrajudicial killings and other criminal acts,” said Gabriela.
“Ironically, the DILG is raising a howl over the portrayal of cops in the hit series but has never spoken strongly about criminal cops abusing women and the people in real life,” the partylist group stated.
The group urged the cast and producers to “assert free speech and artistic freedom
in view of the DILG and the PNP’s methods to display the Duterte regime’s tyrannical rule.”