In her Instagram post last February 9, Dawn Chang expressed her disappointment over Toni Gonzaga’s decision to participate in a political rally. She wrote in part, “It’s my greatest honor to verbalize what other people cannot say: I am deeply insulted and disappointed by the actions of my fellow kapamilya actress Ms. Toni Gonzaga. Paano niyo po nasikmurang suportahan at tulungan ang mga taong may malupit na nakaraan sa kasaysayan ng bansa at sa pagkawala ng trabaho ng mga kasama natin sa industriya?”
The day following the post, veteran showbiz reporter Cristy Fermin castigated Dawn for her post in her Radyo Singko program Cristy Ferminute. “Napaka-righteous at sikat nitong Dawn Chang. Di ba ’yan ’yung dancer? ’Yan ’yung dancer? Dancer ’yan na nasa ano dati . . . Sa lunchtime show nila. Itong si Dawn Chang, ayan nagkakaroon ng mga trabaho ’yan, alam na alam sa ABS[-CBN]. Naku Dawn Chang, gusto mong ibulgar ko kung ba't ka nagkakaroon ng trabaho? Eh pa bash-bash ka pa. Ikaw ang dapat i-bash dahil wala kang mararating kung hindi ka nakikipaglandian sa mga boss,” Cristy was quoted as saying.
In response to the accusation, Dawn’s legal counsel from Calinisan Domino and Beron Law offices released a demand letter requesting for a public apology from the senior radio personality with what they referred to as “a malicious, hateful, and malevolent response to our client’s prior responsible exercise of free speech. Fermin’s response was meant to downplay the effect of our client’s comment on Ms. Toni Gonzaga’s participation in the proclamation rally of a particular set of politicians.”
In the two-page statement, Cristy was stated as “Another case of a reporter/publicist gone rogue. To stress, Fermin’s statement is an outright lie. It is clear to us that Fermin’s statement was meant to besmirch and destroy the reputation of our client. Journalism’s obligation, first and foremost, is to (tell) the truth. Ms. Fermin, what you have done to our client is truly disrespectful and is plain and simple LIBELOUS…. Nakakahiya ang mga comments mo, Cristy Fermin. It is a reflection of the abundance of your soul.”
The letter also dared Cristy to come clean with the names of the individuals she was referring to in her statement. The legal counsel also threatened possibility of incarceration if she does not issue a public apology published through a full-page ad in a leading national broadsheet as well as in all her shows and social media platforms.
“Because of your maliciious imputations, we assure you, we will send you to jail. Kung wala kang kredibilidad, wag ka nang mandamay. Let us be clear: no one has the right to objectify women and disparage their reputation. Ang mga babae ay nirerespeto at minamahal.”
The letter ended with a deadline set for Cristy to comply with the requirements of the apology until midnight of February 16. It read, “Failure to do so will constrain us to pursue CRIMINAL, CIVIL, and even ADMINISTRATIVE actions against you.”