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MANILA, Philippines—Controversial noontime TV show host Willie Revillame found himself in the hot seat again on Monday, beset by furious comments from bloggers and social networking websites. The reason: He objected, on air, to the insertion of a video of former President Corazon Aquino’s cortege on his show, “Wowowee.”
“It’s the most insensitive thing I heard today,” read a comment posted on Facebook. “Iba ka talaga Willie. Kakaibang paggalang kay Cory ’yan,” said another.
“He should raise the issue behind the scenes … but I guess that’s too much to ask [of someone] who hurts women, exploits poor people’s stories …,” another Revillame detractor said.
On Tuesday, Revillame apologized to his viewers, to the Aquino family and to the network (ABS-CBN) management “for hurting their feelings.” He added that his request to stop the inserted video was really “a sign of love and respect for Tita Cory.”
“Salamat, President Cory,” which aired on Monday, was the special coverage of the transfer of Aquino’s remains from the La Salle Green Hills gym in Mandaluyong City to the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros.
The TV special was cut shortly after the cortege reached the Ninoy Aquino Shrine in Makati City, to give way to the live telecast of “Wowowee.” When the noontime show started airing, ABS-CBN inserted a portion of the Aquino cortege.
During the show’s “Willie of Fortune” segment, Revillame said: “’Di po maganda. Nagsasaya kami dito habang nagluluksa ang sambayanang Pilipino. ’Di ko magagampanan ang pagpapatawa habang ipinapakita ang libing ng dating presidente.” (“It’s not good for us to have fun here while the whole country grieves. I cannot make people laugh at the same time that this part of the funeral of our former president is being shown.”)
When Revillame’s reaction found its way to YouTube, it was met with a huge wave of negative reactions.
On Tuesday, Revillame explained: “Ang feeling ko hindi magandang ipinapakita ‘yon habang kami’y nagsasaya. ’Wag kayong magagalit sa akin … ” He said he was willing to give way to the airing of the TV special, but that his bosses instructed him to do the show live.
Prior to asking to have the inserted video removed, Revillame said, he had made the same appeal to Entertainment Production head Linggit Tan during a commercial break: “When it was showed again, that’s when I reacted.”