If there is one celebrity who has always been embroiled in network-transfer intrigues, it is Regine Velasquez.
In fact, Asia’s Songbird is currently facing it again, as there are reports indicating she is set to sign a contract with ABS-CBN in the coming weeks.
Currently, Regine can still be seen in GMA-7’s reality competition The Clash.
However, reports say that after The Clash ends on September 30, she will already sign a contract with the Kapamilya network to join her husband Ogie Alcasid.
This is not the first time reports of Regine switching networks arose.
In 2008, Regine almost signed up with ABS-CBN, but it did not push through.
This time, will it finally happen? Or will she remain loyal to GMA-7?
Before Regine Velasquez announces her decision, PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) takes a look back on the past instances the singer-actress faced network-transfer issues and intrigues.
REGINE'S KAPUSO HISTORY
GMA-7 has been Regine Velasquez’s home for the past 20 years.
It was in 1998 when she officially joined the network, as a host in the defunct variety show SOP, which started airing in 1997.
Back then, she was able to do shows for other networks, especially since she was not tied exclusively with the Kapuso network.
One of her remarkable projects outside GMA-7 was a guest appearance on ABS-CBN’s drama anthology Maalaala Mo Kaya, where she was paired with Piolo Pascual, which aired in 2002.
Titled "Lobo," it is regarded as the highest-rated Maalaala Mo Kaya episode until today.
In 2001, Regine hosted VIVA TV’s Star For A Night, the contest that catapulted Sarah Geronimo into stardom. It was aired on IBC-13.
REGINE'S FIRST PRIME-TIME TELESERYE
After Star For A Night, Regine concentrated on doing projects given to her by GMA-7.
This included her first ever prime-time series, Forever In My Heart, where she had Richard Gomez and Ariel Rivera as her leading men.
She also hosted GMA-7’s original singing competition Pinoy Pop Superstar from 2005 to 2007.
MOVIE WITH PIOLO PASCUAL
In 2007, the Kapuso network allowed Regine to do a project with ABS-CBN’s film arm Star Cinema, which was Paano Kita Iibigin.
The movie served as her reunion with Piolo Pascual, following the success of their 2002 MMK episode.
Even though this project is with ABS-CBN, GMA-7 allowed her to promote the movie on both networks.
Despite the Kapamilya movie, Regine was still active in SOP and her then-airing project, Celebrity Duets.
THE CONTROVERSIAL ABS-CBN OFFER
It was in February 2008 when rumors first floated that Regine was set to leave the Kapuso network.
When PEP.ph spoke to Ogie on February 2, 2008, he denied the rumors, saying that Regine won’t leave him in GMA-7.
He also revealed in that interview that Regine was set to appear on an episode of Maalaala Mo Kaya, and the rumors could be part of the show’s "promo slant."
But then, in a PEP.ph article published on February 8, 2008, a source said that ABS-CBN is just waiting for Regine’s signature.
According to the source, the Kapamilya network gave the Songbird a "multi-million peso" deal, which includes her own musical-variety show, a recording contract, and a movie contract with Star Cinema.
On that Sunday, February 10, Regine did a guest appearance on ABS-CBN’s talk show Sharon, intensifying rumors that she is bound to leave the Kapuso network.
MAALAALA MO KAYA COMEBACK
On February 16, 2008, ABS-CBN held a press conference for Regine for her Maalaala Mo Kaya episode.
The episode, which aired on February 22, served as her comeback in MMK after the successful "Lobo" episode with Piolo.
She recalled, "I won an award pa nga, Best Actress [from Star Awards for TV]. Hindi ko alam kung paano tatanggapin ang award, nagka-rashes pa ako that time.
"Maganda na bumalik uli ako sa MMK para ma-experience ko uli yung magandang na-experience ko before here, yung inaalagaan nila ako."
It was also at this press conference where Regine broke her silence for the first time about her rumored impending network transfer.
Asia’s Songbird admitted that there had been offers but she had a hard time choosing which offer to accept.
"Wala talaga akong desisyon right now. Ang hirap kasing magitna sa [network] war, ganun. As an artist, it's very, very hard because, actually, ako, I find it very, very difficult because I also have friends here in ABS-CBN.
"I happen also like to work with ABS-CBN. But at the same time, I've been with GMA for a long, long time. They also took good care of me."
But with Regine’s words, there were hints dropped that she was set for a major career change.
"Kaya lang kasi, as an artist, minsan you want to experience something else. You want growth, you want to be challenged.
"So, I'm telling you now the truth. I have no decision yet.
"Hindi dahil hinihintay ko kung sino ang mas may malaking presyong ibibigay sa akin, although this is my bread and butter, and I'm telling you that's also being considered, of course. I mean, hindi ako magiging plastik. Sasabihin ko talaga 'yan na kinu-consider din 'yan.
"Ang feeling ko, merong growth na mangyayari sa akin, improvement, you know. If there is a challenge for me na magkakaroon ulit ako ng drive, then doon ako pupunta.
"But right now, wala pang final for anything. But both networks naman, kumbaga, nagpapahaging naman sila pareho. So, ang haba naman ng hair ko!"
In the same interview, Regine said she had been enjoying her status a freelance artist, but the offers from both networks at that time would put a halt to this.
"Apparently, both networks wanted me to commit—exclusive. But both of them, hindi naman sila arogante, you know, they're asking me, 'You know you have to decide or otherwise pulutin ka kung saanman.' It's not like that.
"May sari-sarili silang presyo and offering, and I'm very, very flattered, of course. Kasi hindi mo naman ini-expect na meron silang ganitong need. So, I'm very, very flattered.
"Kaya lang nga, yun ang mahirap sa akin. Sa totoo lang, ako yung tipo ng tao na I don't like to be in just one place. I don't like to be tied down."
REGINE CRIES IN "FAREWELL" SOP PERFORMANCE
A day after the press conference, on February 17, 2008, it seemed like Regine had already decided which network to choose.
It became evident during SOP’s "Constellation of Stars" segment which talked about goodbyes.
Even the segment's intro was talking about endings: "Beginnings and endings do not meet at one point. They are separated by joys and sorrows, by victories and defeats, by happiness and pain.
"At sa bawat pagbubuklod ng pusong nagmamahalan, sadyang pagdadaanan ang katapusang hindi maiiwasan ng mga aalis at iiwan, ng mga mananatili at lilisan.
"And as life’s mysterious twists and turns unfold, we are faced with unending questions with seemingly elusive answers."
Each singer then performed with Regine and hugged her, while singing songs about goodbyes.
When Regine performed with the main hosts—Ogie Alcasid, Jaya, and Janno Gibbs—they all became emotional and they weren't able to control their tears.
This led viewers to conclude that Regine was indeed, leaving the show and the station.
She remained mum all throughout the program, but in a PEP.ph article published on the same day, an insider said Regine was more likely to accept the offer from the Kapamilya network, which was "sky is the limit."
According to another source, the offer included Regine’s own choice of show, movies for Star Cinema, and guaranteed exposure via The Filipino Channel (TFC), ABS-CBN’s international channel.
Another source also told PEP that she will do a self-titled musical variety show and the title role in the Filipino version of Betty La Fea.
The report also stated that GMA-7 was not giving up on Regine, and won’t let her go.
ALMOST A KAPAMILYA
On February 22, 2008, Ricky Lo’s article from the Philippine Star titled "Did Regine bite the P25-million bait?" indicated that the singer did not push through with her transfer to ABS-CBN.
Apparently, Regine had already met with the executives of GMA-7 and she decided to stay with them.
In the same column, an ABS-CBN executive denied they had a 25-million-peso offer for Regine. The Kapamilya official also said Regine sent feelers to the network and showed her interest in doing the Betty La Fea adaptation.
On February 25, 2008, in an interview with Boy Abunda on The Buzz, Regine explained her side of the story.
She admitted that during her Sharon guest appearance, she showed interest in playing Betty La Fea.
"But I don't think that's sending feelers or anything. But if kung feeler man yun, so be it, you know? I need to do a job. Why not? But I want also to say na meron akong trabaho sa GMA.
"Meron akong gagawin sa August, yung Pinoy Idol. But unfortunately, I couldn't do it because of my schedule. Because I'm also doing a movie under GMA Films on August. Meron naman po akong trabaho doon [sa GMA-7] kaya lang interesado talaga ako sa Betty La Fea."
She also denied that ABS-CBN offered her a 25-million-peso deal.
Earlier that same Sunday, viewers no longer saw her in SOP. Apparently, Regine had already left the show, the reason why they were emotional during the "Constellation of Stars" segment.
"Nagpaalam ako talaga. Kaya nagtataka kayo kung bakit nag-iiyakan sa SOP dahil nagpaalam ako talaga. That was my last show sa SOP. That is the truth, and kaya kami nag-iiyakan.
"Nagpalaam ako talaga at alam n'yo po, hindi madaling gawin para sa akin yun. I love SOP so much. I love doing that show so much. I have all my friends there, not only yung mga artista kundi pati yung staff, family ko na sila.
"And also, I would be risking my relationship to GMA just because of Betty La Fea. I was interested. Kung ginagamit ko po kayo para magkaroon ng leverage sa GMA, why would I risk my job and all my relationship with of those people whom I love?"
In fact, Regine already said her goodbyes to GMA-7 at that time. "I said I'd already decided that I want to do Betty La Fea, and this is what I want to do. Of course, meron silang in-offer. Pero nung time na 'yon, parang hindi ko naririnig ang offer nila!
"But because of the things going on. They're [ABS-CBN executives] denying that they offered me before and all that, nagkagulo-gulo na, medyo nahe-hurt ako ng konti. Kasi nagpakita ako ng interes, it was offered to me, pero hindi kami dumating sa 25 million, something like that. How I wish!"
In the end, Regine decided to stay with GMA-7, with a comeback performance on SOP on March 2.
Part of her speech after her performance was: "Hindi natutumbasan ng pera ang prinsipyo at dedikasyon sa trabaho. I will be here where I feel I will be happy. Yun po ang pinakamahalaga sa akin.
"After everything that has happened nitong nakaraang linggo, I have come to a decision. At ito po ang gusto kong sabihin sa inyong lahat. I have decided to stay in GMA."
On May 5, 2008, three months after the network transfer controversy started, Regine finally signed an exclusive contract with the GMA-7, and was given the musical show Songbird, and the local adaptation of My Name Is Kim Sam Soon.
FOLLOWING OGIE ALCASID?
A few years later, in 2013, network transfer rumors for Regine resurfaced. This time, she was supposed to transfer to TV5 together with husband Ogie Alcasid.
This started when Regine tweeted on May 10, 2013: "Uso pa ba ang loyalty? Pano kung hindi naman loyal sayo at isang impleyado lang ang turing sayo?"
A netizen assumed that Regine was leaving GMA-7, but Regine answered, "No it’s not."
When GMA-7 pulled the plug for its variety show Party Pilipinas in 2013, there were also issues saying that Regine and Ogie caused the cancellation because of their impending network transfer.
Party Pilipinas cast member Jolina Magdangal denied the issue, especially since both artists were bound to join its replacement program, Sunday All Stars.
In August 2013, Ogie moved to TV5, but Regine did not join him.
Instead, she would renew her contract for another two years.
Two years later, in 2015, the rumor mill once again turned. This time, word had it Regine was bound to follow Ogie on TV5, after Janno Gibbs made his transfer to the Kapatid network at that time.
But then, Regine remained with the Kapuso network, despite not doing two shows that were offered to her: Let The Love Begin and Sunday PINASaya because of her own reasons.
In the same year, viewers noticed that Regine was not included in the Christmas Station ID of GMA-7.
But then, she only said, "Hindi [ako nakasama] kasi, mga kapatid, busy ako.
"Meron akong show. Ano'ng gagawin ko? Rumaraket ako.
"I don’t mind. It’s not an issue. Huwag na sila [fans] umisyu. Kasi non-issue sa akin."
Regine renewed her contract with GMA-7 in 2016.
Her contemporaries Ogie, Janno, and Jaya, had already transferred to rival networks, but Regine remained a Kapuso.
One time, when she was asked about her opinion regarding other SOP artists who already transferred to ABS-CBN, she only said, "Wala naman masama dun. Kasi tapos naman na yung kontrata nila. And we’re working. We are working artists. We go where there’s work."
In the same year, Regine also made a visit to ABS-CBN’s variety program ASAP to show her support to Ogie, who was given a tribute. However, she only stayed on the sidelines and did not perform on the Kapamilya show.
Under her contract, Regine was able to do the shows Poor Señorita and Mulawin vs. Ravena.
In an interview published on June 30, 2017, Regine was asked again why she decided to remain a Kapuso.
The singer-actress answered with a laugh, "Okay rin naman sa akin to also work with other people, pero I’m really good with GMA. At saka, parang wala na rin naman akong paglalagyan sa Channel 2, baka sa bubong na lang ako!"
Earlier this year, in February 2018, Regine revealed in an interview that there are other singers who would jokingly persuade her to join them on the rival network.
She joked, "Ewan ko sa kanila! Kapag nakikita nila ako, palagi nila akong sinasabihan, 'O, ikaw na lang...' Hahaha!
"Ganun? Huwag na tayong nanghahatak. Okay naman ako dito."
On May 19, 2018, Regine posted a photo together with the hosts of SOP. She then tweeted, "I miss SOP."
Her followers then suggested that she should join them in ASAP. Regine, however, did not respond to any of her followers.
WILL REGINE FINALLY LEAVE GMA-7 AFTER ALL THESE RUMORS?
An answer has yet to be made for this question.
Currently, Regine is still hosting the Kapuso network’s reality show The Clash.
Aside from The Clash, Regine is still the host of the Saturday morning talk show Sarap Diva.
But then, even before The Clash holds its final battle on September 30, rumors are already circulating that Regine is indeed, transferring to ABS-CBN.
But then, reports are also indicating that after six years on-air, Sarap Diva (which started airing in 2012) already had its last taping day and will soon be replaced by a show titled Sarap D Ba? with Carmina Villarroel as the show's host.
This October, Regine will have a tour in the United States.
Some showbiz insiders are saying that once she comes back from her U.S. tour, she will now be seen on ABS-CBN.
Regine has remained tight-lipped about it.
In the most recent interview of PEP.ph with GMA-7 SVP for Entertainment Lilybeth Rasonable, she only said about Regine, "Nag-usap na kami pero siguro hangga't walang ina-announce officially, either from the network or Regine, they’re all just hearsay or speculations.
"So yun, as I've said, hangga't walang na-a-announce, nothing is confirmed."
However, fans were able to take a screenshot of Regine liking a comment of a netizen which read: "Pang-ASAP na po ba yan?"
Some are assuming that Regine acknowledging the comment meant that she will be seen on the Kapamilya variety show soon.
In a recent PEP Troika article, it was reported that Regine was surprised to find out that there will be a second season of The Clash in 2019.
It has yet to be announced if she will still host the new season of the singing competition.
Will Regine transfer to ABS-CBN? Or will she remain a Kapuso?
Just like everyone, PEP.ph is waiting for Regine's announcement in the coming months.