by Nickie Wang
We asked 30 random people if they want Willie Revillame’s Willing Willie back on TV5. Our sampling is not that scientific, to begin with, but we have found something interesting that we didn’t expect—18 of our respondents don’t want TV5 to air the variety show any longer.
These 18 people believe that the controversial Jan-jan incident is a wakeup call to the network that gives Revillame all the freedom to do whatever he wants in the show. These respondents also consider themselves as fervent critics of what had happened in the show that caught the attention of human rights and social welfare advocates. But here’s twist, these people (our respondents we mean) don’t actually watch Willing Willie. They saw the Jan-jan incident video for sure, only because it was the talk of the town and it’s available on YouTube.
Five of the people we asked said they want the show back because of its entertainment value, they added what TV5 always told their viewers—Willing Willie changes primetime TV landscape and ultimately the viewing habits of every Filipinos. Meanwhile, the remaining seven people we asked don’t actually care if it goes back on air or not stressing that there are plenty of better shows on other networks and channels to choose from.
According to Jay Montelibano, executive producer of Willing Willie, the show will not air anytime this week. The executive cleared this after a rumor circulated that the show will have a grand comeback tomorrow or Monday, May 2 (TV5 confirms that it will air the brand new Willing Willie on May 7).
Majority of the petitions online wants Willing Willie to be completely axed most especially during the height of the incident that caused uproar among concerned citizens and showbiz personalities alike. To refresh your memory, the controversial video features a six-year-old boy, who is in tears, gyrating on national television while a measly prize of P10,000 is being dangled by the host. This episode aired on March 12.
Now, Willie Revillame and some TV5 executives are facing a child abuse case filed by six individuals and officials of End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and the Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT) at the Quezon City Fiscal’s Office.
“Why can’t they just leave Willie alone? He has helped a lot of people and his show provides great entertainment. No other local program can do what Willing Willie does,” affirmed our respondent who said he rushes home early to watch the variety program on Kapatid network.
This respondent does not believe that Revillame was at fault. He thinks that what happened was an event beyond the host’s control and it was his detractors who made a big deal out it and blown it into massive proportion.
“Inggit lang sila (they are just envious) because of Willie’s achievements. Look, he has many supporters,” he added.
“He deserves all the bashing and all the bad words thrown at him. Mayabang kasi siya (He’s arrogant). And he thinks that he’s the last word on Philippine TV,” fumed one respondent who also claimed that she has detested watching Willie Revillame on TV dated back when he was still in the now defunct noontime show MTB (Magandang Tanghali Bayan) and Wowowee, which both aired on channel 2.
This respondent, who of course requested anonymity, seems to hold a personal grudge against Revillame. She still recalls an incident on MTB during “My Calendar Girl” segment (it was one of the highlights of the noontime show and it was a staple segment that ran all year around). She said that she used to watch the show as she always imagined herself being one of those beautiful girls who are contestants in the program.
“If my memory serves me right, there’s this episode when someone whispered something to his ear while interviewing one of the contestants who was wearing a skimpy bikini. He moved about and then when he faced the audience again there was something that protrudes in his trousers. I don’t have to elaborate what it was but right there and then, I knew there’s something wrong with this guy,” our respondent remembered.
“Although I’m not a fan, I like Willie Revillame and his show. Willie, in particular, provides a different flavor to our viewing habit. And as we all know, he’s very controversial. We want him to stay. News that features him always gets the attention of everybody. And besides, he has helped the poor. Why can’t we just focus on what he does best?” said another respondent who admitted that Willing Willie is his guilty pleasure.
Willie Revillame took a two-week break after the much-talked incident. In a statement issued by TV5, the network will implement a strict guideline to prevent the incident to ever happen again. Also in the statement, TV5 will have coordinators that will oversee all matters relating to the welfare of children.
Two weeks had past but where is Willing Willie? We still haven’t heard any apology from its host. Instead, we saw someone who lambasted and challenged his critics. Though he decided not to file any case against the people who strongly condemned his gesture, everything was all recorded.
On hindsight, Willie Revillame is not the only person who can make a difference on local television. We have enough of him as a matter of fact. We are witnesses to his gradual growth as a monster, how he glamorized poverty in favor of ratings, and the way he offended people both his fans and non-supporters. We can turn a blind eye on him, but history repeats itself, it’s a cliché but mind you, all clichés are called as such due to the valid reasons.