CHR says dancing boy on Willing Willie victim of child abuse, human rights agency to investigate incident

( The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said yesterday that the case of the six-year-old boy who cried while he gyrated on Willing Willie is a form of child abuse, reports GMA News Online.

CHR Chairperson Loretta Rosales said in a statement, "The multiple pressures exerted on Jan-Jan (Estrada) by the TV program’s host (Willie Revillame), audience and his parents to perform a humiliating act in exchange for P10,000 constitute child abuse."

She added that the incident, a Youtube clip of which has gone viral, was an "exploitation of the child’s innocence and demeans his inherent dignity for entertainment’s sake."

The CHR will investigate the case to identify the people who should be held liable and to come up with recommendations in order to prevent a repeat of the incident, reports GMA News Online.

Meanwhile, Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman, who earlier condemned the incident, said social workers had a "good and open" counseling session with Jan-Jan’s parents yesterday. GMA News Online quoted her: "(We) explained to them the rights of a child and everything about child abuse. It was an enlightenment on their part."

While Soliman said calling the parents’ reaction to the session an admission of their mistakes "too strong a word," she cited one of the points they agreed on: "’Voluntariness’ and parental consent is not an excuse for child abuse."

She told GMA News Online that there will be more counseling sessions with Jan-Jan’s parents. She added that private and Social Welfare lawyers are studying the case to see if "legal actions" could be taken against them.

The group Gabriela National Alliance of Women has also condemned the case and called for "a straightforward public apology from Revillame."

Referring to Revillame’s comments in the Monday episode of Willing Willie, they said, "It was even more callous of Revillame to say that there are more important national issues that should be tackled instead of castigating his show over an episode. It was like saying that children's rights have less importance than other issues."

For more on this story, log on to GMA News Online.

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