By Ma. Lourdes A. Carandang, Ph.D.
Clinical Child Psychologist and National Social Scientist
In the past few days, there have been many insinuations and misrepresentations about my comments with regard to the Jan-Jan episode on TV5’s program “Willing Willie.”
To clarify matters here are the facts:
I have been working pro bono with the DSWD for the past several years to assist them in their efforts to provide counseling for families experiencing psychological trauma. Together with DSWD, we have provided counseling for victims of disasters, violent crimes, sexual abuse, and many other problems.
On 11 April, through the DSWD, Jan-Jan and his family were scheduled for counseling with me. They never showed up.
On 12 April, I was invited by the Commission on Human Rights Chairman Etta Rosales to a meeting to share my expertise as an expert on child abuse in connection with the Jan-Jan episode on “Willing Willie.”
At that meeting I was asked if there was abuse in the family of Jan-Jan. My reply was “I CANNOT SAY WHETHER THERE WAS ABUSE IN JAN-JAN’S FAMILY BECAUSE I HAVE NOT SEEN ANY OF THEM IN PERSON AND THEREFORE I CANNOT MAKE ANY PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT OF JAN-JAN AND HIS FAMILY.”
On April 3, I wrote a letter to MTRCB, at their request, to express my reaction to the Jan-Jan episode on “Willing Willie.” In the letter, I expressed my condemnation of the abuse of Jan-Jan by the show’s host Willie Revillame and urged the MTRCB to take strong action against Revillame and the show’s producers. It is my belief, as a clinical psychologist, parent, and TV viewer that the treatment of that child on the program was indeed a form of abuse. It is a view that is apparently shared by a significant number of people both here and now abroad.
In recent days, it has been insinuated by the lawyers of Revillame that I am part of some grand conspiracy to “bring down” Revillame and his TV program. This is simply not true. I merely expressed an opinion as solicited by the CHR and the MTRCB.
For more than 30 years as a practicing professional I have dealt with many organizations, including UNICEF, Ausaid, ILO, the Rockefeller Foundation, ABS-CBN Foundation, Centex, as well as numerous academic institutions and Filipino families from all walks of life. The actions I take are mine and are shared by the members of the MLAC Institute for Children and Families. Our main mission is to uphold the dignity of the Filipino child and to advocate for truth-telling.
Thank you very much for this opportunity for truth telling.