New MTRCB chief vows no censorship

MANILA, Philippines – The new chief movie and television regulator vows no censorship under his term.

Malacañang confirmed reports that President Benigno Aquino III appointed Ateneo Law professor Eugenio “Toto” Villareal as chairman of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB). He replaces Grace Poe-Llamanzares, who resigned to run for senator in 2013.

The office of Executive Secretary Paquito “Jojo” Ochoa Jr released Villareal’s appointment papers on Thursday, December 6. His term ends in September 2013.

'PARENT'S HAT.' New MTRCB Chairman Eugenio Villareal says the body will just classify content and not censor movies and TV shows under his watch. He says as a regulator, he will wear a parent's hat.

'PARENT'S HAT.' New MTRCB Chairman Eugenio Villareal says the body will just classify content and not censor movies and TV shows under his watch. He says as a regulator, he will wear a parent's hat.

An Opus Dei member, Villareal addressed concerns that the MTRCB will become conservative under his watch.

“There will be no censorship. We will just classify content. Grace’s advice was to wear a parent’s hat,” Villareal told Rappler in a phone interview.

Prior to his appointment, Villareal was MTRCB board member and spokesman. He started his term in February 2011.

Villareal teaches legal philosophy, legal technique, and logic, partnership and agency, and legal counseling at the Ateneo Law School. He is the founding partner of the law firm of Sen Francis Escudero, the Escudero Marasigan Vallente & E.H. Villareal.

His foray into show business began when his law firm took on as clients FPJ Productions, and celebrity couple Judy Ann Santos and Ryan Agoncillo.

Villareal said actress Susan Roces told Poe-Llamanzares, “Gets niya ang showbiz.” (He understands showbiz.)

The new chairman said he wants to empower viewers and tap local regulatory councils of the MTRCB.

“We want the MTRCB to have an impact on the common tao (people), promoting matalinong (smart) parenthood. We want to empower every Juan and Juana to know if a movie or TV show does not go against Filipino values,” he said in his official statement.

Villareal said the MTRCB will do this not just by reviewing but also through info campaigns.

“Finally, we wish to engage all networks and film producers in this mission, knowing that better content means a better entertainment industry.”

‘Paradigm shift’

Villareal told Rappler he intends to continue the paradigm shift that began under Poe’s term, referring to the conferences with TV networks where the MTRCB talks about best practices rather than sanctions.

“This is a work in progress,” he said.

Villareal said among the challenges he faced in the MTRCB was the suspension of the Tulfo brothers’ TV5 show T3 over their comments on the brawl between Raymart Santiago and Claudine Baretto, and journalist Mon Tulfo.

The lawyer was also part of the MTRCB case involving TV5’s Willing Willie where a 6-year-old boy danced like a stripper last year.

He belongs to a political family, the Villareals of Capiz. His grandfather, Cornelio, was Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Villareal obtained his law degree from the Ateneo de Manila Law School. He holds a professorial chair granted by the Nippon Foundation.

He is also a former trustee and board secretary of the Task Force on Urban Conscientization of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines, according to his profile on the Ateneo Law School website.

He is a legal consultant for the Alliance for the Family Philippines Foundation, Inc. – Rappler.com