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, dance show, education, entertainment, humor, music, news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

‘Kap’s Amazing Stories’ in a Crisis; ‘Ismol Family’ and ‘Marian’ Debuts

Senator Bong Revilla’s educational show ‘Kap’s Amazing Stories’ is now facing a crisis after the senator was accused of graft and plunder in relation to the PDAF scam.

After airing for several years, GMA’s educational program ‘Kap’s Amazing Stories’ is now facing a huge crisis. This is because the show’s host, Senator Bong Revilla, is currently being linked to the controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.

Just recently, Senator Revilla, along with fellow senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada, PDAF mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, and numerous other co-accused, were issued hold departure orders by the Sandiganbayan in relation to the scam. Senator Revilla, in a recent interview, has said that he will face the plunder and graft charges brought against him.

As Senator Revilla faces the prospect of arrest and jail time, the status of ‘Kap’s Amazing Stories’ has now become uncertain. Given that the show has been on the air for several years, and with numerous educational stories along the way, it will not be easy for the network to give up on ‘Kap’s Amazing Stories’.

But with Senator Revilla currently involved in a controversy of national interest, it is time for GMA to make a difficult decision. Either they replace ‘Kap’s Amazing Stories’ with a similar program for the sake of credibility, or keep the show, but with a new host, for the sake of loyalty. It is up to the braintrust of the Kapuso network to decide the show’s fate.

Meanwhile, ‘Ismol Family’ will make its debut on the said network this Sunday, replacing ‘Picture! Picture!’ on its timeslot. The new sitcom will star Ryan Agoncillo and Carla Abellana, with supporting roles from Carmi Martin, Mikael Daez, Mike ‘Pekto’ Nacua, Miguel Tanfelix, Kevin Santos, Bianca Umali, Marc Justine Alvarez, and Natalia Moon.

The series, directed by Dominic Zapata, will now be GMA’s third sitcom in its current lineup. The others are ‘Vampire ang Daddy Ko’ and ‘Pepito Manaloto’, both of which star preeminent comedians in Vic Sotto and Michael V.

And finally, ‘Marian’, the self-titled dance show hosted by Marian Rivera, premieres this Saturday after ‘Vampire ang Daddy Ko’. Marian’s first guests on the program will be Maricel Soriano and Vilma Santos, both of which had their own self-titled dance shows in the late 1980s.

Joining Marian on the show are Paolo Ballesteros, Christian Bautista, Mark Bautista, and Julie Anne San Jose. Louie Ignacio will direct the show.

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Leila de Lima’s Announcement and Subsequent TV Coverage

It only took around 45 minutes, but Department of Justice secretary Leila de Lima swiftly announced the filing of plunder, malversation of public funds, bribery, and graft and corruption charges against Pork Barrel mastermind Janet Napoles, senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla, and 34 others. Seconds after the charges were filed, media reporters rush in to grab documents of the said cases.

Even before the announcement was made, Senator Enrile had been rushed to the hospital after complaining of difficulty in urinating. It was also reported that once the charges against him were announced, he immediately proclaimed his innocence. Let’s face it, Enrile is an ailing 89-year old man, and accusing him of plunder at his advanced age is not what I want to see. The accusations against him would only hasten his already failing health, and may lead to his eventual death.

Senator Estrada had been accused of plunder before, when he and his father, former President and Manila mayor Joseph Estrada, were both charged relating to the Jose Velarde scandal twelve years earlier. Senator Revilla had also been involved in prior legal cases, both during his acting and ongoing political career. While both denied the accusations, Senator Estrada has said he is prepared to face the charges, while Senator Revilla said that the people should not judge him and his co-accusers this early in their ordeal.

In terms of television coverage, all of the major networks aired the live press conference of de Lima’s announcement. While GMA News TV, DZMM Teleradyo and the ABS-CBN News Channel were able to carry the live press conference, TV5 was forced to carry the announcement as sister station AksyonTV carried the live NCAA games. TV5’s live coverage of the announcement affected their programming; their ‘Sine Ko Singko’ program was delayed for several minutes, while another rerun of ‘Face to Face’ significantly cut the airtime allotted for the public service program ‘T3: Reload’. The Tulfo brothers’ program was reduced to 10 minutes rather than the standard 30, and time constraints prevented any complainants from voicing some of their complaints on national TV. If I were News5 head Luchi Cruz-Valdes, I would tell TV5 president Noel Lorenzana to stop airing reruns of ‘Face to Face’ and instead replace it with any of News5’s public affairs programs, or the live simulcast of Radyo5 92.3 News FM‘s ‘Cristy FerMinute’, because it is becoming too annoying.

Meanwhile, the trial for the plunder case against Napoles and 37 other co-conspirators will be announced soon, and is expected to be carried live by all of the major networks.

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