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GMA Network Statement on Azkals-Ramos controversy

Last Tuesday, March 13, the sexual harassment complaint filed by former Philippine Olympic Committee President Cristy Ramos, daughter of former President Fidel V. Ramos, against two members of the Philippine Azkals was a topic of discussion in Unang Hirit. During this discussion, certain Unang Hirit hosts voiced their opinions on the matter.

Two days later, March 15, GMA Network received a letter from the Philippine Football Federation or PFF complaining about the commentary of Arnold Clavio and Rhea Santos during that discussion.

GMA Network would like to clarify that the statements cited in PFF’s letter were not part of a news report which only includes statements of facts and where there is absolutely no room for the personal opinions of the newscasters. The statements being referred to by the PFF were part of an unscripted discussion during the program’s commentary segment where hosts are given the opportunity to express their opinions.

GMA Network is saddened that the Philippine Football Federation misunderstood Arnold ’s statements. Arnold was not referring to the Azkal players' citizenship or race, but to whether they have imbibed the Filipino culture in their hearts and minds.

The issue discussed in Unang Hirit was sexual harassment – an important issue which the Unang Hirit hosts feel strongly about. Arnold, Rhea, and the other program hosts have the right to express their opinion, a right guaranteed by our Constitution.

Whether or not we agree with their opinions, GMA Network acknowledges and respects this right, just as it respects the public's and PFF’s right to express their opinion – for so long as those opinions do not in any way violate the law.

The PFF regarded Arnold's and Rhea's comments as racist, discriminatory, libelous and malicious However, contrary to the PFF's opinion, GMA Network does not find anything racist, discriminatory, libelous, or malicious in the comments made by Arnold and Rhea.(GMA Network)