A noted Filipino-American lawyer has denounced CBS for its “highly negative” television episode portrayal of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, and asked the network to make an apology to the Filipino nation.
Atty. Arnedo “Nedo” S. Valera, chairperson of the US Pinoys for Real Change in the Philippines (USPRCP), in a press statement he sent to PNA said that “the least that CBS and/or the writer of this episode can do is to issue a short apology…”
Valera pointed out that the “short apology by CBS is inversely proportional to the ‘damage impact’ of the inherent integrity of the Office of the President and the entire Philippine Government he (Duterte) represents,” adding that “this arrogantly made episode is a grave insult to our nation and to the Filipino people.”
“Whether you are a political supporter of the President or not we need to look at this episode on different light. More so if you are a dual citizen or belong to an organization or NGO that directly participates in humanitarian mission and projects in the Philippines. I hope all of you watched or at least attempt to watch this CBS episode,” he said.
Earlier, the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. denounced the CBS television episode.
“My position is to support and join our Philippine Embassy to denounce this ‘highly negative’ portrayal of a Philippine Head of State,” Valera, a prominent Filipino-American lawyer from Virginia, who is also co-director of the Migrant Heritage Commission (MHC), said.
Varela said that the “Madam Secretary” episode of CBS “should be seen essentially as a ‘national dignity issue’ wrapped with racial indignation, culture of colonialism and utter disrespect on how the Philippines conducts its Foreign Affairs.”
He added that “as everybody knows, the Philippines is pursuing an independent foreign policy enshrined in Art. 2 of the Philippine Constitution. There is nothing new to this. This has been our foreign policy since the 1987 Philippine Constitution was ratified under President Corazon Aquino.”
“In a nutshell, as a member of a non-aligned country we are free to establish relationship with all countries in the world taking into account the national and paramount interests of our nation and people. And usually our national interest is not identical with the national interest of the country we have a relationship but the basic and common sense foreign policy that Philippines should adopt.”
Valera said that “if superpowers like US, China , Russia and other rich and powerful countries can enter and engage into billions of dollars and Euros in commerce and trade, why can’t the Philippines? The reason I am bringing this up is because as it is right now, the status quo on foreign relations with the US seems to be at stake. But as Fil-Ams , we know that our more than seven decades of US-RP relations remain strong on three grounds: Military and security agreements, Commerce and Trade and most importantly , our people to people relationships. But we must support the pursuit of an independent foreign policy (not articulated as severance of foreign relations, but more dictated by nationalism with the paramount interests of the Philippines as first in the agenda).”
“The CBS episode was just one of the many incidents of grave insults, racial denigration and colonialism mentality that a powerful media plays from time to time in mainstream America. Our nation has a long standing record for women’s rights and status of women. Fiction is fiction. But this episode is a lie and it is legally and morally dangerous to use them as the butt of a joke or a satire, especially against a nationality.”
“And yes, we must have our collective voices heard on this matter in the framework of ‘engaging CBS in a Constructive Dialogue’ supposedly in the spirit of promoting a healthy US RP relationship now and in the future. And we are stakeholders to this from the perspective of our long standing people to people relationship with our brothers and sisters of this great nation.”
“In addressing and redressing this national dignity issue like this CBS episode, it is important that we are guided by honesty, humility and humanity. And we must always rise up to any occasion to advocate and defend our cultural and national dignity of our country as a people, including us, the Filipino Diaspora.”
“As we all know, a collective demand for justice is not something you beg for, you have to fight and articulate it within our constitutionally recognized civil rights to express ourselves freely and peacefully. In the spirit of a ‘win-win’ strategy, we must engage CBS in a constructive dialogue,” Valera concluded. (PNA)