entertainment, news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

A Reaction to the Promotion of Sen. Tito Sotto to the Senate Presidency

Welcome to the ‘Tito Sen’ era.

Monday afternoon marked a changing of the guard at the Senate, as erstwhile Senate President Koko Pimentel relinquished his position in favor of Vicente ‘Tito’ Sotto III. The long-time senator/entertainer will now take on a more arduous task of leading the Senate for the next several years.

It also means that ‘Tito Sen’, as his co-hosts at ‘Eat Bulaga’ call him, will no longer join his fellow Dabarkads at the said noontime show for an indefinite time period. Given the many responsibilities of a Senate President, it was only fitting for Sotto to leave ‘Eat Bulaga’ since he would stay busy even during days without Senate sessions.

Sotto, nearing 70, has served a total of four terms as Senator. He had been elected to the Senate on four different occasions: 1992, 1998, 2010 and 2016.

The selection of Tito Sotto as Senate President earned mostly negative reactions from netizens. Most of them cite some of Sotto’s most controversial moments as both an entertainer and senator; namely the Pepsi Paloma rape scandal in the 1980s, the plagiarized RH Bill speech in 2012, and the ‘na-ano’ statement to Judy Taguiwalo in 2017.

But in the defense of some, Sotto has a track record that is more than enough to justify his ascendance atop the Senate. Aside from his four terms as Senator (this made him the longest-tenured current Senator by service time), he also served as Quezon City Vice Mayor from 1988-92, and was part of the Dangerous Drugs Board from 2008-09.

In addition, Sotto belongs to an influential family, some of whom also dabbled into politics. His grandfather, Vicente Yap Sotto, served at the Senate from 1946-50, his children Gian and Lala currently serve as Quezon City councilors, and nephew Vico (son of Vic Sotto and Coney Reyes) is currently a Pasig City councilor.

The negatives that come with Tito Sotto may be an overreaction to his recurring role as an entertainer. After all, politicians with showbiz backgrounds tend to carry greater scrutiny than those who come from other fields (see Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada).

However, in the case of Tito Sotto, these controversies were just minor bumps to an otherwise distinguished mark in public service. People may like it or not, but until another changing of the guard takes place, the Senate Presidency will belong to one Vicente Sotto III.

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comedy, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television, variety show

Eat Bulaga’s Suffer Sireyna Problem

Super Sireyna and Suffer Sireyna will forever be synonymous to one another.

Super Sireyna had been a recurring segment of ‘Eat Bulaga’ for the past several years. The segment invites transgender men to compete in a beauty pageant akin to the more prestigious Binibining Pilipinas contest, and each contestant had to assume the persona of a particular female celebrity, whether local or foreign.

Suffer Sireyna, on the other hand, was introduced as a response to Super Sireyna by host Joey de Leon. First held in 2014, the segment involves ordinary but mostly ugly men dressed in drag (with a corresponding pseudonym to mock a particular celebrity) that were forced to compete in ridiculous challenges (hence the word ‘suffer’).

While the Suffer Sireyna segment had been mostly entertaining, not all were pleased by its mocking depiction of ordinary men with obvious physical flaws. Nearly four years ago, John Ryan Mendoza of Outrage Magazine criticized Suffer Sireyna for parading the candidates as ‘freaks for the whole country to laugh at’.

When Suffer Sireyna returned earlier this year, another critic stepped in and picked up from where Mendoza left off. Facebook user Alwyn Ignacio commented on the matter, saying that it is not funny and is disrespectful to the LGBT community.

TAPE Inc., the producers of ‘Eat Bulaga’, have not responded in kind to either Mendoza’s or Ignacio’s post. Regardless, it is one thing to take pride towards the LGBT community, but it is another thing to degrade and make fools out of them for the sake of entertainment.

For a noontime show that has nothing left to prove after nearly 39 years of unparalleled success, Suffer Sireyna may probably go down as one of its weakest points. No matter how entertaining and engaging this segment is, it is clear that the LGBT community is not happy with what Suffer Sireyna is doing (unless you’re Allan K or Paolo Ballesteros).

This Saturday, ‘Eat Bulaga’ will hold the next stage of Suffer Sireyna competition under the name Suffer Sireyna Intergalactic (a mock response to Super Sireyna Worldwide). If this is the ‘end’ as Joey de Leon claims for the segment, then one can hope for a good riddance.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Next Up for JoChard: My Guitar Princess

GMA’s search for a hit late-morning series continues.

After failing to hit paydirt with ‘Ang Forever Ko’y Ikaw’, GMA will once again try to give the popular JoChard (Jodi Sta. Maria and Richard Yap) love team a run for their money. Their latest attempt will come in the form of two young stars that will topbill the newest series ‘My Guitar Princess’, which premieres this Monday.

‘My Guitar Princess’ will be led by a pair of emerging Kapuso stars Julie Anne San Jose and Gil Cuerva. In this series, Celina (Julie Anne) is a promising but insecure 18-year-old singer and guitarist whose mother Adele (Sheryl Cruz) does not approve of her singing in front of an audience.

Amid her mother’s objection, Celina insists on performing even if it means tearing their relationship apart. Soon after, Celina’s talents caught the eye of two men who seek to fall in love with her: Elton (Gil), a 20-year-old singer based abroad whom fans call the ‘prince charming of pop’, and Justin (Kiko Estrada), Celina’s long-time confidant.

Completing the cast of ‘My Guitar Princess’ are Isabelle de Leon, Jazz Ocampo, Marika Sasaki, Marc Abaya, Ralf King, Kier Legaspi, Frank Garcia, Maey Bautista, Rob Sy and Lui Manansala. It will be directed by Nick Olanka.

The popular love team of Jodi Sta. Maria and Richard Yap (plus Robin Padilla as the third wheel) in ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’ will provide a very tough obstacle for Julie Anne San Jose and Gil Cuerva. After all, these are a pair of young Kapuso stars who have been long underappreciated by the masses despite their immense talent.

That said, the only hope for GMA is to can maximize the potential of Julie Anne and Gil. Of course, it also helps that an aggressive social media and promotional campaign will benefit the show and its lead stars considering the network’s weaknesses in the two departments.

Still, it will not be easy for ‘My Guitar Princess’ to overcome ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’. If GMA wants to avoid a repeat of ‘Ang Forever Ko’y Ikaw’, they need to push the right buttons, otherwise another short series is in the offing.

‘My Guitar Princess’ airs weekdays before ‘Eat Bulaga’ on GMA.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

A Tough Act to Follow for Contessa

From ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ to ‘Contessa’.

Following the successful year-long run of ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, GMA will now look to fill in the big shoes that the former left. They decided to replace ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ with a series that reminded viewers of another successful teleserye from a rival network.

From the moment ‘Contessa”s teaser was aired, netizens immediately compared the series to ABS-CBN’s ‘Wildflower’ due to their similar storylines of revenge. But ‘Contessa’ lead star Glaiza de Castro had a different take, saying that her upcoming show focuses more on a woman’s constant quest for justice.

In ‘Contessa’, Glaiza is initially known as Bea, a woman who is accused and imprisoned for a crime she never committed. Determined to seek revenge and reclaim those who were taken away from her, she assumes a new identity, that of Contessa.

Throughout the series, ‘Contessa’ will feature some important characters who will be crucial to the story of Bea/Contessa. Marco (Mark Herras) is a writer and Bea’s long-time boyfriend whose gruesome murder will be central to the evolution of Bea into Contessa.

Marco’s brother Gabriel (Geoff Eigenmann) is a successful OFW who returns to the country following his murder. Meanwhile, Bea’s best friend Jong (Jak Roberto) is a secret admirer of hers who hopes to love him back.

The Imperial family, led by the matriarch Charito (Chanda Romero) and her children Vito (Gabby Eigenmann) and Daniella (Lauren Young), will serve as a major obstacle to Bea/Contessa’s plans for justice. In typical villainous fashion, the Imperials are considered manipulative, influential, sophisticated and powerful individuals who will do whatever is necessary to destroy the protagonist.

Completing the rest of the cast are Tetchie Agbayani, Leandro Baldemor, Dominic Roco, Bernadette Allyson, Melissa Mendez, Tanya Gomez, Karel Marquez, Phytos Ramirez, Denise Barbacena and Will Ashley. ‘Contessa’ will be directed by Albert Langitan.

Replacing a top-rating series in ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ will be a daunting one for ‘Contessa’. In order for viewers to commit to this new series in the long term, some interesting bits and pieces are needed to make ‘Contessa’ worth watching, a task that is difficult to fill considering it will go head-to-head with ‘It’s Showtime”s ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ segment.

With all things considered, GMA should only hope for the best with ‘Contessa’. It may never be able to replicate the ratings of ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, but if it all goes well, who knows what will happen next.

‘Contessa’ airs weekdays after ‘Eat Bulaga’ on GMA Afternoon Prime.

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comedy, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

GMA’s New Rival to Sana Dalawa ang Puso Premieres Monday

GMA has a new series coming up to counter ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’.

After over a month of staying away from the dreaded love team that is Jodi Sta. Maria and Richard Yap (with some sprinkling of Robin Padilla in between), GMA will once again look to defeat the popular tandem. This time, however, they will not have the benefit of TAPE Inc. as a blocktimer and production partner.

Instead, the new series ‘Ang Forever Ko’y Ikaw’ will be self-produced by the network, the first time they have done that in a pre-noontime show since ‘Cielo de Angelina’ in 2012. But unlike the latter which is more of a tear-jerker, ‘Ang Forever Ko’y Ikaw’ will be done in the same way as ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’: a romantic comedy.

‘Ang Forever Ko’y Ikaw’ will be headlined by Camille Prats, Neil Ryan Sese, Ayra Mariano and Bruno Gabriel. Camille (as Ginny) and Neil (as Lance) are single parents still attached to their past, but with some common ground between them (e.g. living in the same condo, enjoy the same brand of coffee), it seems like a relationship is about to bloom.

Their lives will also intertwine with that of their children. Ginny’s daughter Marione (Ayra) and Lance’s son Benjie (Bruno) are also on the verge of falling in love, but it remains to be seen if either or both of their relationships will flourish.

GMA is no stranger to morning romantic series, having aired ‘With a Smile’ and ‘Dangwa’ in years past. Unfortunately, the presence of TAPE’s pre-noontime shows prevented GMA from seriously challenging ABS-CBN’s popular late-morning dramas, which led to both shows’ failure to make an impact.

The curse of ‘JoChard’ has become a long-standing dilemma for GMA ever since ‘Be Careful with My Heart’ premiered in 2012. That said, GMA can only hope for the best with ‘Ang Forever Ko’y Ikaw’, as this could be their last-ditch attempt to overcome the problem.

If they fail on this objective, it will not be a surprise to see the network return to a pupal state and fill the airtime with ‘Kapuso Movie Festival’. It is either all-out or stay out as far as GMA is concerned.

Directed by Tata Betita and Jojo Nones, ‘Ang Forever Ko’y Ikaw’ airs weekdays before ‘Eat Bulaga’ on GMA.

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New Trend: GMA Responds to It’s Showtime Going Overtime

Looks like a new trend in primetime newscasts has begun.

In response to ‘TV Patrol’ now airing at around 6:40 p.m. due to ‘It’s Showtime’ exceeding beyond its allotted time, GMA countered by having rival newscast ’24 Oras’ air 10-20 minutes later than its previous timeslot. To do that, GMA intentionally allowed one of its programs to go past its duration.

That turned out to be the teleserye ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, which usually airs for only 45-50 minutes at best. But Wednesday afternoon (see episode hashtag below) saw ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ go beyond its usual running time and air for 80 minutes, uncharacteristically long for a teleserye.

GMA’s version of Vice Ganda and company excessively talking for minutes came by way of long commercial breaks. But much like what ABS-CBN allowed (whether intentional or not) ‘It’s Showtime’ to do, isn’t this a little too much for viewers to take?

Consider this: ‘It’s Showtime”s archrival ‘Eat Bulaga’ is only given 2 1/2 hours of airtime by GMA from Monday to Friday due to its blocktimer status. GMA can’t obviously loosen this rule because even Antonio Tuviera is strict enough to enforce such a ruling.

They also cannot allow ‘Wowowin’ to go past its allotted time and go live because of Willie Revillame’s past controversies. The onus fell on one of GMA’s afternoon teleseryes, and that turned out to be its highest-rated program ‘Ika-6 na Utos’.

This is definitely a bad case of ‘fight fire with fire’. The recent shenanigans of ABS-CBN and GMA dragged its other programs down, and it also affected the airtimes of the respective networks’ late-night newscasts in ‘Bandila’ and ‘Saksi’.

If this game of one-upsmanship continues, both ‘TV Patrol’ and ’24 Oras’ might end up airing at an uncharacteristically late timeslot of 7:00 p.m. Not a good way to kick off the primetime slate.

But at least there are earlier primetime newscasts that viewers can tune in to. The choices include PTV-4’s ‘PTV News’ (if viewers can tolerate Erwin Tulfo’s biased reporting), CNN Philippines’ ‘News Night’, Net 25’s ‘Mata ng Agila’, UNTV’s ‘Ito ang Balita’ and even ‘Top Story’ of the ABS-CBN News Channel.

Apologies to T5N’s ‘Aksyon Prime’, but its timeslot inconsistencies are too much to handle. But regardless of that, alternatives in primetime news are worth the time and money.

Still, ABS-CBN and GMA should know all too well that time is precious. They could at least adjust this new trend in primetime programming, but they need to stop allowing its programs to go overtime so as not to compromise the patience of viewers.

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