Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo M. Año expressed his dismay over the portrayal of the Philippine National Police (PNP) head and personnel in the teleserye Ang Probinsiyano that airs on ABS CBN.
"I am dismayed on how "Ang Probinsyano" depicts the PNP organization. They are intentionally sending a wrong message to the public which is demoralizing the ranks of the PNP," Año says pointing out how the teleserye paints a grossly inaccurate picture of the entire police organization.
"They even included a designation of a scalawag Chief of the PNP, and prop a group called 'Vendetta' who puts the law on their hands," he adds.
Vendetta is an armed group of civilian and former police officers, one of whom is portrayed by actor Coco Martin as 'Cardo Dalisay', which is in constant war with the "police force" as they try to attain revenge.
According to the DILG Chief, the entertainment value of any television or theatrical show should not be a vehicle in tarnishing the image of any private or government organization, especially those involved in law enforcement functions whose effectivity is dependent on its credibility with the public.
"While they [Ang Probinsyano] provide entertainment to the public, they also have moral and ethical responsibilities in what they do," he says.
He is quick to admit that the PNP had a few erring police officers who are now out of service because of the internal cleansing program the police organization has been implementing to rid its ranks of scalawag personnel.
"Hindi namin sinasabi na lubos na malinis ang PNP. We have a few bad eggs but they are never tolerated and the DILG and PNP leadership is sweeping the ranks of the police organization to ensure that those 'rotten tomatoes' will be out of service," the DILG Chief says.
"It is just unfair to our good policemen in general who are doing their job properly and with devotion even to the extent of putting their lives on the line," he points out.
Año also warns the producers of the show of possible legal action if the teleserye's plot will not be changed. "We are open to consultations with them at a mutually agreeable time to discuss these matters," he said.
DILG Assistant Secretary Secretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said that the DILG is seriously considering legal action to protect the image of the entire PNP organization.
"We will seriously consider filing legal action and imposing sanctions including the prohibition on the use of PNP uniforms, properties and even using the acronym of the organization (PNP) if "Ang Probinsyano" continues with their grossly unfair and inaccurate portrayal of our police force," he said.
Malaya said that under Article 179 of the Revised Penal Code, it is prohibited for any person to publicly and improperly make use of insignia, uniforms or dress pertaining to an office not held by such person or to a class of persons of which he is not a member.
He also added that the PNP and Movie and Television Review and Classification Board already signed a Memorandum of Agreement in 2017 regarding the appropriate way of wearing police uniforms on television programs and movies, yet the producers of the show persisted in improperly using PNP uniforms.
"We are also looking at possible violations of the Childrens Television Act of 1997 because the show may have violated the National Council for Children's Television standards for television programs that should be child-friendly," he said.