Controversy over portrayal of Philippine govt. in CBS drama ‘Madam Secretary’

by  Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN News

 

“When a foreign leader crosses the line, the Secretary of State is forced into a break in diplomacy. I clobbered a world leader, instead of saving a major regional agreement.”

This is the controversial scene in an upcoming March 12 episode of CBS’ political drama, “Madam Secretary,” where a character described as the unconventional new President of the Philippines, and made a pass at the female lead character, Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord — played by Tea Leoni.

The episode was strongly protested by the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC, which put out a statement saying that while ‘Madam Secretary’ is a work of fiction, it tracks and mirrors current events.

“This highly negative portrayal of our head of state not only casts doubt on the respectability of the office of the Philippine President, but also denigrates that way our nation navigates foreign affairs,” said the embassy.

Malacanang has also addressed the issue.

“I think they’re confusing their images,” said presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella. “I think they’re projecting something that they really would like to say about their own situation. Really, I think they should use a fictional US president.”

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s Filipino American supporters are also very concerned with the show.

“Let us remember that this will add skepticism and will, add injury and irreparable damage in the persona of the President. Please CBS, we implore you, remove that segment,” said Kelly Dayag. “Do not use our president for media mileage, just so your show will have good ratings.”

They say the Philippine president in the TV series is in direct contrast to President Duterte — a champion for women’s rights.

“Let it be known that Duterte, when he was mayor of Davao City, espoused the creation of Ordinance 5004, protecting the interests of women,” said Bong Aralar of Brotherhood for Duterte USA. “It also afforded equal rights to women, including the City of Davao. This ordinance if the first of its kind in the Philippines.”

But some members of the group, Filipino American Human Rights Alliance, applaud ‘Madam Secretary’ and CBS for this controversial episode.

They find it ridiculous that the philippine embassy would take the time to protest it.

“Oh yes, I like the episode. I think it’s a very accurate reflection of the president of the Philippines. Duterte is a misogynist, so I’m not surprised, if I see that in the episode, from the way he treated De Lima and Robredo,” said Ago Pedalizo, from FAHRA. “He seems to have a very big hate, a deep seated hate towards women.”

“What is wrong with a fictional character getting a bloody nose? Actually I, as a woman, feel very excited and I believe that it would be a very cathartic experience for me to see a misogynistic, apparently chauvinistic, sexual predator type of a world leader being punished by a woman,” said Vivian Zalvidea Araullo.

ABS-CBN has reached out to CBS to comment on the Philippine government’s reaction to the March 12 episode.

The network has yet to reply.

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– ARTICLE CORRECTION – 

Vivian Zalvidea Araullo was quoted in the March 7 posting of this article as saying, “What is wrong with a fictional character getting a bloody nose? Actually I, as a woman, feel very excited and I believe that it would be a very cathartic experience for me to see a misogynistic, apparently chauvinistic, sexual predator type of a world leader.”

Her correct and complete quote is, “What is wrong with a fictional character getting a bloody nose? Actually I, as a woman, feel very excited and I believe that it would be a very cathartic experience for me to see a misogynistic, apparently chauvinistic, sexual predator type of a world leader being punished by a woman.”

 

 

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