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MTRCB denounces 'disturbing' online attacks against its chair Lala Sotto

By Melanie Uson Published Sep 14, 2023 8:58 pm

The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) strongly condemns the online attacks targeting its chairperson, Lala Sotto, stressing the importance of doing “civil discourse and responsible criticism.” 

“Lala Sotto, the Chairperson of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) became the target of alarming online attacks,” their official statement read, released on Thursday, Sept. 14. 

They went on to share how social media users expressed their disapproval in an “inappropriate and harmful manner” which made them flag it as a serious matter that could harm Lala Sotto’s safety and security.   

“Over the past weeks, we have experienced an unfortunate surge in threatening messages on our official social media pages, including explicit rape and death threats directed at Chairperson Lala Sotto,” the statement read. 

MTRCB's statement on "disturbing threats" against its chairperson Lala Sotto.

To recall, MTRCB faced serious backlash following their decision to impose a 12-day suspension to noontime show It’s Showtime following the alleged "incident acts" of its hosts, real-life couple Vice Ganda and Ion Perez, during its July episode. 

“Chairperson Lala Sotto is a dedicated public servant who has spent her career advocating for responsible and inclusive media content,” said MTRCB Vice Chairman Njel De Mesa.  

“She has consistently championed the importance of media content that respects cultural sensitivities while contributing positively to the Philippine entertainment industry,” he continued.

Atty. Mamarico Sansarona Jr., the agency’s Executive Director II, said that no one deserved such an “unfounded personal attack,” stressing that the agency is merely doing its job despite the backlash.

“No Filipino deserves such kind of unfounded personal attack. We must not resort to personal attacks because our agency is just doing its mandate. We are happy that our Chair is very active in discharging the functions of our office based on existing laws,” he said. 

The agency went on to express its denunciation of such acts while emphasizing the importance of civil discourse and responsible criticism in upholding Filipino value-based media and entertainment culture. 

“While the MTRCB recognizes the importance of constructive criticism and open dialogue, it strongly condemns any form of threats, harassment, or violence, both online and offline. Such behavior is not only illegal but also runs counter to the principles of a Filipino value-based media and entertainment culture that the MTRCB upholds,” the statement continued. 

“The MTRCB remains steadfast in its mission to ensure that television and movie content aligns with the cultural values and norms of the Philippines. We continue to encourage constructive dialogue with the public, emphasizing the importance of civil discourse and responsible criticism,” it concluded. 

In the past week, the agency reassured the public of its fairness by sharing that Sotto wasn’t involved in the voting process regarding It’s Showtime suspension. 

“Chairperson Lala Sotto inhibited from voting, ensuring that members of the Board exercised their independent judgment in determining the appropriate course of action,” the statement read.

The MTRCB chairman is one of the children of Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, former Senate president and longstanding host of the noontime show EAT, which is one of the direct competitors of It’s Showtime.