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SMNI's Badoy, Celiz to be released from House detention

Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) hosts Lorraine Badoy and Jeffrey "Ka Eric" Celiz will be released from detention at the Batasan Pambansa, Parañaque Rep. Gus Tambunting, chair of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises, announced on Tuesday afternoon.

"They're free to go. This is not a furlough," Tambunting said.

He said, "Ang desisyon po ay sila ay palalayain for humanitarian reasons. Ito naman po ay Kapaskuhan." (The decision is to release them on humanitarian reasons. After all, it is the Christmas Season.)

The committee cited Celiz and Badoy in contempt last week over the former's refusal to disclose his source who claimed that Speaker Martin Romualdez's travel fund is at P1.8 billion. Badoy, for her part, earned the ire of lawmakers for allegedly being unresponsive, if not disrespectful, to their queries about ad revenues of the SMNI program, Laban Kasama ang Bayan, which she and Celiz host.

The House Committee on Legislative Franchises is currently investigating SMNI, mainly due to the alleged deliberate dissemination of false information over its broadcast of Romualdez's supposed travel fund, as well as comments branding opposition House members as communist rebels, if not terrorists.

"Mayroon po tayong sulat galing kay Ka Eric, siya ay humingi ng paumanhin sa kanyang ginawa," Tambunting told reporters. (The decision of the committee is that they will be released. There is the letter from Ka Eric, and he has apologized for what he did.)

Tambunting was referring to Celiz's letter to the committee asking for a furlough, citing his mother’s deteriorating health.

The lawmaker also took notice that Celiz already disclosed the name of his Senate source regarding Romualdez's supposed travel fund. Celiz has said that his source was wrong.

Both Celiz and Badoy, Tambunting said, have verbally admitted that they had some shortcomings. —VDV, GMA Integrated News