|SINGER, ACTOR, TV HOST Willie Revillame|
MANILA – The Court of Appeals has upheld the ruling of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court finding probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest against controversial television host, actor, singer and composer 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.
Revilla’s lawyer, Leonard de Vera, reacting to the CA ruling, stressed that there was no need to arrest Revillame because he posted bail as early as in 2013 as he clarified the ruling.
Revillame, who is now a mainstay of GMA Network, himself was reported to be unperturbed by the ruling as friends and supporters claimed that the actor took care well of the boy unnecessarily dragged in the case, adding that the decision will eventually lead to the dismissal of the case.
The former San Francisco, California-based lawyer Leonard de Vera said in a statement that Willie’s camp wants to correct the reports that came out in the media. “We wish to correct news reports appearing today that Mr. Willie Revillame refused to submit himself to the jurisdiction of the court and that a warrant of arrest should be issued against him for a child abuse case that was filed back in 2011,” de Vera said.
“Upon the finding of probable cause by the regional trial court of Quezon City Branch 86, Mr. Revillame sought and was immediately granted bail in the amount of P80,000.00 in September 4, 2013 or more than two years ago.
“Accordingly, it is unnecessary for the trial court to issue a warrant of arrest against Mr. Revillame,” De Vera said.
De Vera also explained that, as part of his client’s right, Willie appealed to the Court of Appeals (CA) the decision against him, but this petition remained pending until the ruling.
“The inaccurate reports spreading in social and mass media are regrettable and are being misinterpreted by certain quarters on account of Mr. Revillame’s success in his new show Wowowin now being aired in GMA-7. It is evident that these reports are intended merely to taint and besmirch Mr. Revillame and his new show in the Kapuso network,” de Vera said.
De Vera also said that Willie is innocent until proven guilty, and there is no evidence that he is guilty of the charges against him.
“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.
“Let the trial proceed so that the government can prove its case and Willie can exercise his right in the trial. That’s all it meant,” he said.
“I hope we would emphasize is what the CA is saying is you may proceed for the trial so that the guilt or innocence of Willie can be determined by the court.
“So now we will proceed with the trial.” –
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 prize 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 on him.