Weeks prior to a group of individuals, referred to as “social media broadcasters,” filing a cybercrime charge against popular Filipino entertainers Vice Ganda and Ion Perez, photographs emerged of their “special meeting” with Diorella “Lala” Sotto-Antonio, Chairperson of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).
These images circulated on social media, raising questions about the timing of the meeting and its connection to the subsequent charges.
The photos, dated August 24, 2023, were originally posted by Commander Red. They depicted members of the Kapisanan ng mga Social Media Broadcasters ng Pilipinas Inc. (KSMBPI) gathered at the MTRCB’s office, where they appeared to be involved in an agreement ceremony and a “special meeting” with Chairperson Sotto.
According to the post, the gathering included the “Signing of the Memorandum of Agreement between SPIN MEDIA and the Kapisanan ng Social Media Broadcasters ng Pilipinas, Inc. at the National Office of MTRCB last August 24, 2023, followed by a special meeting with MTRCB Chairperson Lala Sotto.”
SPIN Media, as indicated on its Facebook page, stands for Secure the Philippines Initiative Network, a media organization established in 2020 that boasts a network of correspondents across several provinces. The group appeared to have formed an alliance with KSMBPI.
The meeting reportedly focused on the “proliferation of immoral content in some noontime TV shows.” During the meeting, KSMBPI expressed its support for the MTRCB’s initiatives aimed at “raising public awareness and addressing moral decay in the entertainment industry.”
On September 11, 2023, Atty. Leo Olarte, President of KSMBPI, announced that Vice Ganda and Ion Perez had been charged with violating Republic Act 10175, known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, on both online and offline platforms.
In response, Olarte clarified that KSMBPI is an “independent private advocacy organization” and that the decision to file the criminal charge “was never triggered nor influenced in any way by the MTRCB.”
KSMBPI argued that Vice Ganda’s on-air action of licking icing from Ion Perez’s finger amounted to an “emulation of a sexual activity.” They contended that this action, when broadcast on national television and uploaded to ABS-CBN’s social media platforms, had a detrimental impact on the general public, especially children, and violated the cybercrime law.
Meanwhile, Chairperson Diorella “Lala” Sotto-Antonio of the MTRCB has vehemently denied any involvement in influencing KSMBPI to file the criminal charge against Vice Ganda and Ion Perez.
As of the time of reporting, neither Vice Ganda nor Ion Perez has issued statements regarding the cybercrime charge brought forth by KSMBPI.