TV talent set for court fight

Gretchen Fullido

TV and radio personality Gretchen Fullido revealed recently (through her lawyer Atty. Cesar Jimenea) that she was preparing and psyching herself up to “undergo the rigors of trial” in her sexual harassment case against two executives of broadcast network ABS-CBN.

In a statement, Jimenea said “Gretchen is getting ready the best way she can, learning how to calm down and temper apprehensions in exposing her innermost personal life. Thi is what sexual harassment case is all about.”

“This is different. Gretchen IS already in the public eye as a media person, but this concerns matters she’d rather keep private. Her own family DIDN’T know the details of the numerous incidents of harassment until the complaint was reported by media” JIMENEA added.

A Quezon City court will soon hear charges of violation of Republic Act 7877 or “An Act Declaring Seuxal Harassment Unlawful in the Employment, Education or Training Environment” against Cheryl Favila and Maricar Asprec of ABS-CBN.

The QC Prosecutor’s office, after preliminary investigation, noted that Favila and Asprec were in an “open relationship” and wanted Fullido to be their “Thursday Girl,” Thursday being the day reserved for a supposed “third party.”

According to Fullido, the two gave her the feeling that she needed to be close to them beyond the “boss-colleague” level, which made her uncomfortable.

The May 28, 2019 Resolution by the Prosecutor’s Office shows Favila began sending Fullido inappropriate and sexually suggestive text messages beginning 2015.

In one message, Favila told the network talent that “you were very sexy, parati naman akong game sa iyo. Ikaw lang ang maayaw.”

Another text read, “Pero gusto ko ng live rendition ng birthday song mo, na naka sexy outfit ka, birthday ko naman diba?”

Favila made it appear in her messages that she was doing a favor by helping Fullido professionally, and needed a reward in return.

One text detailed “Maricar is the one who’s been pushing me, asking me to give you one last chance. For her, I will but you have to give me one good reason why I should. It’s not about having dinner again, or crying again, or asking for forgiveness again. Come back to me when you can already commit – to me, and to your dreams.”

Other messages went  “Promises fulfilled – I have opened the doors to your dreams by creating your own segment on TV Patrol, despite doubts and criticisms from various camps. I got you a talent fee increase, which is double what you are currently” and “I pitched for you to be the social media anchor for Election Marathon pero may gusto ko pa din ata ng Stripteaser Gretchen”

In one instance, the executive told the talent that she liked Fullido “in a different way compared to the other girls close to her,” and thereafter “looked at Fullido’s chest while biting her (Favila’s) lips.”

Asprec was found to have aided Favila by “egging her to make lambing with Favila.”

ABS-CBN, after an internal investigation, dismissed Fullido’s sexual harassment complaint.

The two accused network bosses were found by the prosecutor to have used their “authority, influence or moral ascendancy” in a working environment to “demand, request or require a sexual favor.”

R.A. 7877 specifies that sexual harassment is committed when the acts of a superior towards a subordinate result in “an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.”

“There came a point where Gretchen needed to report the harassment to network management because it was already affecting her job and the way she dealt with her colleagues. Gretchen cannot keep silent anymore and privately bear the pain. ABS-CBN said there was no sexual harassment so she had to file a formal legal complaint,” Jimenea said.

“The silver lining here is the hope that other victims of harassment will be inspired by what happened to Gretchen and file their own complaints.”