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Willie Revillame's (top, right) departure from ABS-CBN caused an exodus among Wowowee's former staff members—(top, from left)  Sagat Pomantok (former utility man) and Natchie de Jesus (former chargen programer); (middle, from left) Julieta Bocong (seamstress), Gloria Odulio (seamstress), Demetria Alawigan (laundrywoman), and Mel Vicentuan (seamstress); (bottom, from left) Mama Berns (makeup artist), Elaine Resurreccion (production coordinator), Clara Magno (VTR playback), and Owen Ercia (floor director).   Also part of the list: (not in photo) Jay Montelibano (business unit head), Raquel Sevilla (former associate producer), Cecilia Matutina (head writer), Rod Divinagracia (writer), Noel Ebriega (game control system developer), Adrian Grey (road manager of Wowowee dancers), and DJ Coki.

Photo: Noel Orsal

Willing Willie is going to be the reincarnation of Wowowee.

Aside from having the same host, most of the people who will run it came from the defunct show of ABS-CBN.

The exodus took place in August.

But Willie Revillame quickly clarified in an exclusive interview with PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal): "Kusang loob po silang umalis. Hindi ko po sila tinawag o pinangakuan ng kahit na ano."

This was echoed by the people who made a no-turning-back decision for the love of this man they fondly call "kuya."

FLOOR DIRECTOR. The bubbly guy with a headset left Pilipinas Win na Win!, the noontime show that replaced Wowowee, barely two weeks after the new show's launch.

His name is Owen Ercia. "Floor director po ako ng Wowowee for five years since day one. And then, nawala lang ako nung nawala yung show. Nag-stay ako ng two weeks sa Win na Win, pero nag-decide ako na mag-join kay kuya talaga para sa bagong show and bagong buhay," he began.

Owen recalled that in the beginning, he was more scared of 49-year-old host-comedian than starstruck.

"Nung una, may konting takot kasi Willie Revillame, e. 'Tapos, natatakot ka na baka konting mali, e, masisigawan ka," he said.

He had his share of the "nasigawan" moments with Willie. "Kapag may palpak ka, hindi niya palalampasin yun. Perfectionist kasi siya, e, and maganda naman lagi ang nagiging outcome ng pagiging perfectionist niya kasi maganda ang mga segment, maganda yung show. Kasi kung hindi siya ganun, hindi siya magiging istrikto, siguro, parang magiging parelax-relax lang kami, e," Owen explained.

He also said he has no control over the public's general perception about his boss. "May mga kuwento na kesyo ganito raw siya o ganun pero karamihan, may sobra."

One story he validated was Willie's alleged preference to cover the pathway leading to his studio with white cloth, so no one would block his way. "Sa dressing room lang yun," Owen corrected. "Mahigpit talaga ang security dun kasi nakaka-distract nga naman kapag nagtatrabaho ka, nagra-run yung show, 'tapos may haharang para magpa-picture, di ba."

Continuing his line of thought, "Actually, yun ang tingin ng mga tao sa kanya, mayabang, kasi 'yong way ng pananalita niya sa TV. Pero para sa akin, hindi siya mayabang. Nagiging totoo lang siya kasi yun siya, e."

The real Willie, according to him, is "masayang katrabaho."

During briefings and rehearsals, the boss would have punch lines that would leave the staff in stitches. He added, "Nag-i-enjoy talaga kaming lahat."