Año: TV series demoralizing PNP ranks
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Saturday denounced the portrayal of policemen in the popular TV series “Ang Probinsyano” and threatened to sue the show’s producers.
“I am dismayed at how ‘Ang Probinsyano’ depicts the [Philippine National Police]. They are intentionally sending a wrong message, which is demoralizing the ranks of the PNP,” Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement.
“It is just unfair to our good policemen in general who are doing their jobs properly and with devotion, even to the extent of putting their lives on the line,” Año lamented.
The series portrays the crusade of fictional SPO2 Cardo Dalisay, played by Coco Martin, who is forced to join a vigilante group against a corrupt police force and government.
Assistant Interior Secretary Jonathan Malaya also said the program’s producers may have violated the Revised Penal Code, which prohibits the improper use of police insignia and uniforms.
“We will seriously consider filing legal action and imposing sanctions, including the prohibition on the use of PNP uniforms, properties and even using the acronym of the organization,” he said.
But the ABS-CBN network that runs the show said “Ang Probinsyano” was just a television show about a “purely fictitious” story as stated in the disclaimer aired at the start of the show every night.
Imperilling free speech
“There is no intention to smear the reputation of any organization or portray any person in a negative light,” said Kane Errol Choa, head of the network’s corporate communications office.
Sen. Francis Escudero said the PNP should not underestimate the intelligence of Filipinos by implying that they could not differentiate fiction from reality.
“[The PNP] should not insult our countrymen, that they would immediately believe what they watch. Our countrymen are not stupid,” Escudero said.
The PNP should instead stop policemen who rape their colleagues, demand sexual favors for the release of suspects or kill a fellow law enforcer.
Sen. Grace Poe agreed that any attempt to control the plot of the story may constitute a prior restraint on free speech.
“As long as it’s not pornographic or constitutes inciting to sedition or anything that is against the Constitution, we should allow free speech,” Poe said over dwIZ. —With a report from Leila B. Salaverria