One tangible sign of TV network giant ABS-CBN’s near-exclusive stranglehold on Primetime programming is the action drama teleserye “Ang Probinsyano”, a series-format adaptation of a film by the late King of Philippine Cinema Fernando Poe Jr. The TV version, starring Coco Martin, has held audiences in thrall for three straight years, with its gripping narrative of fighting for justice against organized crime, terrorism, dictatorial government and corrupt authorities. Those last two elements have been prevalent throughout the 2018 run of “Ang Probinsyano”, to the point that real-life counterparts of these scalawag agencies in the show are crying foul and demanding sanctions against series and network.
INQUIRER.net reports that a meeting is being scheduled between ABS-CBN and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), to discuss the matter of story content over the former’s runaway TV hit teleserye “Ang Probinsyano”. In particular, they wanted to address the prevailing theme of corrupt police and military officials assisting a strongman President in perpetrating cronyism and oppression of the people, something that is proving detrimental to the image of the actual Philippine National Police. The PNP last week has already issued a directive to their departments and personnel to withdraw assistance and extra appearances in the primetime show.
On Monday, November 19, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año confirmed the scheduling of a DILG-ABS-CBN meeting to address concerns about “Ang Probinsyano” tarnishing the image of government institutions with its portrayal of corrupt authority figures. DILG Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya adds that the Department is considering legal action against the production that would prohibit the use of names, insignia, equipment and people from the PNP if the current plotline remains unchanged.
To this, ABS-CBN points out its disclaimer before every airing of “Ang Probinsyano” emphasizing the fictional nature of the work. But Secretary Año retorts that enforcing a negative image of the police and government for the sake of “entertainment” is still harmful, calling on the network to take better responsibility for what it shows onscreen.
“Ang Probinsyano” follows Ricardo Dalisay (Coco Martin), former provincial cop who briefly assumes the identity of his estranged twin in order to bring his killers to justice. More recent storylines see Cardo resign from the PNP, then enlist in the SAF to avenge the death of his son. His new misadventures see him fall in with a populist insurgency, which he reforms into a vigilante hit squad to resist against the ambitious Vice-President who seizes power by setting up the incumbent President for assassination, instituting autocratic governance in his place.
ABS-CBN airs “Ang Probinsyano” during Primetime on weekday nights after their “TV Patrol” evening newscast.
Image courtesy of CNN Philippines