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Who are the people in charge of the MTRCB?

By NICK GARCIA Published Aug 01, 2023 4:49 pm

The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) just made headlines after it summoned producers of noontime variety show It's Showtime over alleged indecent acts on air.

During the show's July 25 episode, hosts Vice Ganda and her partner Ion Perez each tasted the icing of a cake using their fingers. Ion, in particular, had his eyes closed while slowly licking the icing off his finger. Vice also took some of the icing from Ion's finger with her own before consuming it.

The MTRCB deemed the couple's actions as a violation of its policy. They're supposedly "objectionable for being immoral, indecent, contrary to law and/or good customs, injurious to the prestige of the Republic of the Philippines or its people, or with a dangerous tendency to encourage the commission of violence or of a wrong or crime," according to Section 3a of Presidential Decree No. 1986, which created the board.

As stipulated in the decree, the MTRCB has the mandate to regulate television shows and cinemas. This doesn't cover streaming services, though the board has launched its Responsableng Panonood campaign to promote safeguards in platforms like Netflix and Vivamax.

Here are the ones in charge of the board.

Diorella Maria "Lala" Sotto-Antonio, chairperson
Lala Sotto is the chairperson of the MTRCB.

Lala Sotto-Antonio is the daughter of former Senate president Vicente "Tito" Sotto III, the third of the iconic TVJ (alongside brother Vic Sotto and Joey De Leon) who serve as the main hosts of noontime show E.A.T.

Sotto-Antonio was appointed by President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos last July 2022.

Like Tito, she's a politician by profession. She served as councilor of Quezon City's 6th District and 3rd District for three terms each. She also previously served as her father's chief of staff.

To date, she's the president of Samahang Kasama ng Kabataan Foundation.

Nathaniel Joseph "Njel" De Mesa, vice chairperson
Njel De Mesa works for the MTRCB as its vice chairperson.

De Mesa is an award-winning man of the arts—from film, literature, music, and theater.

His works include KontrAdiksyon, Coronaphobia, Al Coda, True Or False Positive, The Miranda Bomb, Subtext, and Respeto. Subtext won first prize in the Don Carlos Palanca Awards, the country's highest accolade in letters, while Respeto was named best picture in Cinemalaya and best feature film in the New York Asian Film Festival.

De Mesa is also the chief executive officer of film studio NDMstudios.

He also had government stints, including being a consultant to Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.

Mamarico "Rikki" Sansarona Jr., executive director
Rikki Sansarona serves as the MTRCB's executive director.

Sansarona was appointed last March 2022 and reappointed the following September.

A lawyer by profession, he got his juris doctor degree from Mindanao State University. He also took business administration at the same university.

Sansarona's legal work included being a Legislative Staff Officer IV in the Regional Legislative Assembly of the now defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and a Consultant for the Province of Lanao del Norte. He also served in the military with the rank of captain.

Before his appointment as MTRCB executive director, Sansarona served in several government offices, including the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, the Office of the Transportation Cooperative, and the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos National Capital Region.

He also quit the government briefly to join the campaign of former president Rodrigo Duterte.

Board members

The MTRCB also has 30 board members hailing from different disciplines, including film, music, academe, journalism, and law.

Prominent board members include Luke Mejares, former vocalist of OPM group Southborder, Richard Reynoso, a singer and actor who rose to fame in the '80s, as well as Mark Anthony Andaya, a professional basketball player and actor.