The Court of Appeals has upheld the ruling of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court, which found probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest against controversial television host Willie Revillame, in connection with the child abuse and exploitation case filed against him.
In an 11-page decision, the CA’s Thirteenth Division through Associate Justice Ma. Luisa Quijano-Padilla resolved that there was no grave abuse of discretion on the part of Quezon City RTC, Branch 86, Presiding Judge Roberto Buenaventura in issuing the arrest warrant against Revillame on Oct. 4, 2013.
“As a final note, we observe that the resolution of this case had long been delayed because of the petitioner’s refusal to submit to the trial court’s jurisdiction and his erroneous invocation of the Rules in his favor,” the appellate court stressed.
Associate Justices Normandie Pizarro and Samuel Gaerlan concurred with the ruling.
According to the appellate court, Judge Buenaventura did not arbitrarily issue the warrant of arrest against petitioner as it was issued after his personal evaluation of the factual circumstances that led him to believe that there was probable cause to apprehend petitioner for his commission of a criminal offense.
The case arose from the controversial incident on March 12, 2011 in his defunct prime time game show “Willing Willie” aired on Associated Broadcasting Company (ABC) 5 Network wherein one of the contestants was a six-year-old boy.
Revillame then made the boy perform a dance featuring gyrating moves associated with “macho dancers” or male strippers.
The host even encouraged the boy to repeat his dance moves and tried to imitate the child’s dance steps. Revillame then gave the boy P10,000 as his price and allowed the boy to repeat his performance several times.
Several days after the episode, the Department of Social Welfare and Development filed a complaint with the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office for violation of Republic Act 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.
The DSWD alleged that the episode constituted psychological abuse, cruelty and emotional maltreatment of the boy and debased, degraded and demeaned his dignity, thus, constituting child abuse.
Consequently, the QC Prosecutor’s Office found probable cause to charge Revillame with child abuse case before the QC RTC.
On Sept. 4, 2013, the RTC found probable cause on the crime charged against Revillame and issued an arrest warrant against him.
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