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TV producer: I never harassed Gretchen Fullido

But news anchor says that respondents’ text messages, actions created hostile, offensive working environment

THE WAY THEY WERE(From left) Gretchen Fullido, Maricar Asprec and Cheryl Favila before the falling out. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

It’s all a puzzle, a mind-boggling development, Cheryl Favila said of the sexual harassment complaint Gretchen Fullido filed on Oct. 5 in the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office.

“I really want to know if she has a problem with me,” Favila told the Inquirer on Tuesday. “I have done nothing wrong to her. I never sexually harassed Gretchen Fullido.”

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A former supervising producer of ABS-CBN’s primetime news program “TV Patrol,” Favila is one of the two respondents. The other is Maricar Asprec, ABS-CBN news segment producer and Favila’s domestic partner.

The complaint is in the preliminary investigation stage.

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“We have yet to receive a subpoena,” said lawyer Evalyn Ursua, Favila’s counsel.

Favila said she could not understand why Fullido brought to court a case that was dismissed by the TV network on July 18.

Fullido first filed the complaint in 2017 at ABS-CBN, where she and Favila had worked — she as “Star Patroller” host in the show biz segment of “TV Patrol” and Favila as the news program’s supervising producer.

However, the investigating panel found Favila guilty of gross misconduct, which Ursua thought odd because “there was no case.”

Ursua pointed out that Favila was in fact “allowed to resign and she received some benefits.”

Points of contention

She added that she was alarmed when Fullido released to media the dismissed case’s main points of contention — a series of text messages between Fullido and Favila — which she claimed were deliberately edited out of context.

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In her 25-page complaint, Fullido said that the text messages and actions of Favila and Asprec created a “hostile and offensive working environment” for her for three years.

She showed text messages, mostly from Favila, which she said were “loaded with sexual innuendos.”

Fullido also disputed the conclusion of the internal investigation conducted by ABS-CBN that no sexual favors were demanded from her.

In particular, she pointed to Favila’s requests for her to be her “Thursday girl,” explaining that the two respondents were in an open relationship and Thursdays were reserved for a third party.

“Asprec then asked complainant to be Favila’s ‘Thursday girl.’ Knowing the connotation, complainant rejected this ‘request/offer,’” the complaint read.

Fullido noted that while there was no explicit demand for sex, the request to be a “Thursday girl” was a “clear request for sexual favor.”

But Ursua explained that “Thursday Girl” actually referred to a group of ABS-CBN news staffers, including Doris Bigornia, Nadia Trinidad, Tere Salvacion and Bettina Magsaysay.

Favila said she would meet some of them on Thursdays because that was usually the day her partner, Asprec, preferred to stay home.

Thursday Girls

Others who would join the Thursday Girls were Ginger Conejero, Pinky Webb, Korina Sanchez, Gretchen Ho and Karen Davila.

Favila said it was a running joke between her and Asprec to have “Thursdates” with people she could meet for drinks since since Asprec did not drink alcohol.

She added that she also went out for drinks with other women in the news department, not just Fullido.

All of the text messages in question, including position papers, sworn statements and counteraffidavits submitted during ABS-CBN’s investigation can be seen on the Facebook page Stand with Cheryl Favila and Maricar Asprec.

Asked why she didn’t contest ABS-CBN’s decision to “terminate” her while dismissing the case, Favila said she wanted to move on because it would be untenable to work with Fullido after their falling out.

New case

“I gave up 21 years of my career,” she said. “And then here comes this new case. Who is harassing who?”

For her part, Fullido pointed to the respondents’ “pattern of behavior, claiming that whenever she would reject Favila’s sexual advances, her ‘stories and work would suffer’ for it.”

She claimed that her “rejection of [Favila’s] sexual advances negatively affected the terms and conditions of her work as a reporter and news anchor.”

But Favila disputed this, saying that Fullido “maliciously attributed to my alleged anger toward her because of her alleged rejection of my alleged sexual advances the cause of her stories not airing.”

Ursua said they were planning to file countercharges of libel and perjury against Fullido in due time.

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TAGS: ABS-CBN, Cheryl Favila, Evalyn Ursua, Gretchen Fullido, Maricar Asprec, sexual harassment case, TV Patrol
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