Philippines Suspends TV Program That Regularly Features Duterte

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(Bloomberg) -- Philippine television regulators have suspended a TV program where former President Rodrigo Duterte regularly appears, saying it violated broadcast content standards.

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The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board imposed a two-week suspension on “Gikan Sa Masa, Para Sa Masa” effective Dec. 18, it said in a statement on Tuesday.

The program, which airs on SMNI channel, has been a platform for the former president to express his views on various issues including tensions in the South China Sea and local politics after ending his six-year term in June 2022. SMNI is a broadcasting company associated with television evangelist Apollo Quiboloy, a known Duterte supporter.

The board said it received complaints about alleged death threats made by “a guest” on Oct. 10 and Nov. 15, without naming the person. Duterte is facing a criminal complaint for grave threats against an opposition lawmaker in an October episode. He has denied making such threats.

Another SMNI program, “Laban Kasama Ang Bayan,” was suspended by regulators after broadcasting “unverified news” about the 1.8 billion pesos ($32.2 million) in alleged travel fund by House Speaker Martin Romualdez, a cousin of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. SMNI has faced congressional inquiry amid the issue.

In suspending the SMNI shows, the board cited the need to “prevent the possible repetition of these alleged infractions which may pose a negative impact on public welfare, ethical considerations, and the overall reputation of the broadcasting industry.”

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