How TV producers are responding to Gretchen Fullido’s charges

October 10, 2018 - 1:59 PM
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Gretchen Fullido Interaksyon
Gretchen Fullido files sexual harassment charges against her superiors in ABS-CBN. (Instagram/Gretchen Fullido)

The camp of one of the TV executives imputed in sexual harassment charges dismissed new accusations by her former colleague Gretchen Fullido as a matter of “poor journalistic standards.”

Fullido took to court last week her sexual harassment complaint against Cheryl Favila and Maricar Asprec, another TV producer.

The entertainment reporter also filed libel charges against news veterans Cecilia Drilon and Venacio Borromeo and reporter Marie Lozano.

Not a good journalist —Favila’s lawyer

Favila’s legal counsel Evalyn Ursua tried to refute Fullido’s claims that some of her stories were not aired due to her rejections of the supervising producer’s sexual advances.

In an exclusive interview with Pep.ph, Ursua said:

“Gretchen’s stories did not get aired—not because of malice, but because her stories were either—No. 1, the stories were very poorly written; No. 2, did not have an angle; No. 3, there was no video support; No. 4, the video support and the story did not match. I mean, the work of Gretchen Fullido just does not meet journalistic standards.”

The Kapamilya anchor alleged that Favila and Asprec had been sending her malicious text messages for three years, which made it difficult for her to work.

Fullido’s filing of charges was shared by her lawyer Marvin Aceron on his Facebook account on October 5.

NEWS RELEASEOctober 5, 2018Manila, PhilipinesGretchen Fullido files criminal cases against news executives and…

Posted by Marvin B. Aceron on Friday, October 5, 2018

This is not possible, Ursua says, because Favila, known as “Chair,” does not have direct authority to affect the terms of employment of the “TV Patrol” journalist.

“Chair does not have power to hire or fire Fullido or any anchor of ‘TV Patrol’,” she said.

The text messages exchanged among the three TV personalities (Asprec, Fullido and Chair) from 2015 to 2017 were also taken out of context, according to their camp.

In Asprec and Favila’s affidavit, they countered that Fullido did not show the entire conversations that would provide context to the text messages she released earlier this week. They claimed that the move enabled her to “distort, with evident malice, the context and meaning of those messages and to attribute to those messages sexual meaning.”

Fullido is currently the anchor for the showbiz or entertainment portion of ABS-CBN’s “TV Patrol.” Favila, meanwhile, is a former news executive. Asprec remains as a segment producer.

The story of Thursday girls

Fullido released to the media the controversial text messages she used as basis for her legal case days after filing the cases at the Quezon City prosecutor’s office.

In one of the alleged messages, Favila invites to be her “Thursday girl,” or a once-a-week girlfriend. Fullido said she repeatedly rejected the “clear” request for sexual favor.

The accused party denied this and explained that “Thursday girl” refers to the “innocent” practice of going out with friends every Thursday evening.

This gathering involves other female reporters as well, such as Pinky Webb, Drilon and Doris Bigornia. Favila nicknames all these women as her “Thursday girls.”

Drilon was also implicated in Fullido’s affidavit. Fullido said Drilon, a decorated broadcaster, shamed her as a victim of sexual abuse.

Drilon aired her response on social media, emphasizing that she “would never belittle any women coming out to speak of any abuse committed against her.”

What went before

Fullido first raised the issue of sexual harassment to the ABS-CBN management in November 2017.

The network then created an ad hoc committee in January this year to conduct an internal investigation.

On July 16, the ad hoc committee dismissed the case, but found Favila liable of gross misconduct. She was asked to leave after 21 years of working for the company.

Months later, Fullido filed a 25-page case to the prosecutor’s office in Quezon City. She also provided copies of it to the media.

Her lawyer, Aceron, said that she was the first TV news personality who spoke up against sexual harassment in the news industry of the country.

Other TV personalities expressed their support for Fullido.

For Favila, Fullido was the one who interpreted the phone messages the wrong way.

As of writing, Favila’s party is still in the planning stage of building up counter charges of libel and perjury against Fullido.