Months before Angel Locsin's confirmed transfer to ABS-CBN, GMA-7 already had a gut feel that something was amiss though this was doused off several times by Angel and her camp.
"Twice we asked Angel if she was talking to ABS-CBN and twice she replied that she was not," revealed GMA-7's SVP for Entertainment TV Wilma Galvante to Showbiz Central co-host Pia Guanio in an interview.
According to Ms. Galvante, rumors that Angel and her manager Becky Aguila were already negotiating with ABS-CBN already buzzed inside GMA's compound, prompting a network executive to personally visit the young actress on the set of Asian Treasures to confirm the news.
"'Yung first instance was in June when Joey Abacan of GMA Films went to the set of Asian Treasures. Dito tinanong niya si Angel, ‘Naririnig namin na nakikipag-usap kayo sa kabila.' Angel vehemently denied this and she said, ‘Papansinin ba nila ako doon? Hindi kami lilipat.' So Joey took her word for it and he relayed that to us," Ms. Galvante recalled calmly.
A formal meeting was then called last July 3 at the Makati Shangri-la, attended by some of the network's bigwigs and Angel's team.
Present in the late night meeting were Angel along with manager Becky Aguila, lawyer Joji Antonio and GMA's Joey Abacan, Redgie Acuña-Magno, Annette Gozon, and Wilma Galvante herself.
"Again in that meeting, we asked both of them, Becky and Angel, ‘Nababalitaan namin, marami kaming naririnig na nakikipag-usap na kayo sa kabila. Totoo ba ‘yan?' Tapos ang sagot ni Becky, ‘Saan mo narinig ‘yan? Sinong nagsabi sa ‘yo niyan? Hindi ‘yan totoo. Walang katotohanan diyan.' And Angel even said, ‘Naku, hindi po ako lilipat. Mahal na mahal ko po kayo hindi ko kayo iiwan. Gusto ko lang magpahinga. Gusto ko lang magbakasyon. Pagbalik na pagbalik ko, kayo naman ‘yung una kong kakausapin,'" Ms. Galvante narrated.
The network executive said that they repeatedly offered Angel a new contract after her co-management contract expired with GMA-7 last March 31.
"Even before her contract expired," stressed Galvante on GMA-7's offer for a new contract with Angel.
TAKING A BREAK. In Galvante's recollection of her meeting with Becky and Angel's father, Mr. Angel Colmenares, the two made known that Angel wanted to take a break first after wrapping up Asian Treasures and in the process turned down the lead role for the local remake of the Mexican telenovela Marimar.
Ms. Galvante recalled Angel's supposed plans as presented by her manager and father: "She needed to go to the States for the premiere of her movie, Angels, and then she had to go to London for a six-week fashion design course—they told us six weeks. After that she wanted to travel, see the world, take a break [and] rest. Pagbalik niya, ang gagawin niya muna, ang kailangang gawin niya, ‘yung kanyang mga commercials and then the movie and then she want to attend to the business offers that are coming her way daw. In-explain nung father na hindi naman ‘yan nangyayari. Nangyayari ‘yan ngayon na she's on top of her career, so she also wants to take advantage of it. We understood it. I took their word for it."
Wilma reiterated that she, and in behalf of the network, accepted all these arrangements with the understanding that Angel would sit down with GMA to discuss working anew once all plans were accomplished.
SHOCKING MOVE. But as it turned out, GMA-7 was shocked to discover that Angel had already sealed a deal with ABS-CBN just as the Kapuso executives were about to receive a formal letter from Angel's camp informing them about her move to the Lopez-owned network.
"We found out on the same day that they appeared on an interview on TV Patrol. So, that interview was pre-taped obviously and it was like the other Friday only a few hours before Becky and Mr. Colminares (Angel's father) send us a letter signed by both of them. The letter was sent to me, to Annette Gozon, and to Atty. [Felipe] Gozon on the same afternoon," she narrated.
Galvante also contested the issue that Angel felt neglected for GMA's lack of support for her movie, Angels.
As revealed by the network executive, GMA-7 didn't charge Angels' trailer air time in the station and even bought the TV rights of the movie for a staggering P3 million, with Becky cashing the P1.5 million as she told GMA-7 that she was already strapped for production money.
"Libre ‘yon," she casually pointed out. "In fact, ‘yung movie n'ya na Angels, binili ng GMA ang TV rights. Ang ibig sabihin ng binili ‘yung TV rights, ‘yong movie mo later on in the future, we will air it on TV. Binili ‘yon ng P3 million, so kami ang nagbayad sa kanila. GMA ang nagbayad sa kanila."
RICHARD GUTIERREZ. There's also no point in comparing Angel's income with former screen partner Richard Gutierrez, as the latter has more assignments in the first place. Ms. Galvante explained:
"Here are the facts. From 2006 to mid-2007, Angel Locsin made over 60 million pesos from her TV shows and mostly from endorsement contracts closed by the GMA Artist Center. ‘Yung para i-compare niya ‘yung kinikita niya kay Richard Gutierrez is not even fair. You know why? For TV, malaki talaga ang kikitain ni Richard because he's doing three shows. The guy is taping soap three to four times a week. He will do Nuts Entertainment. He will do SOP. He works hard for his money. He should really earn more than Angel for the TV show kasi soap lang si Angel, e. Hindi mo naman siya [Angel] malagay sa SOP kasi she cannot sing, ayaw niya. ‘Yung dancing wala, 'tsaka pagod na siya. So soap lang talaga. We took care of her na ilagay mo lang siya kung saan talaga magsa-shine ‘yung talent n'ya."
COURTESY. The top management, according to Ms. Galvante, went through all the negotiations in good faith and hoped that Angel and her manager had at least showed some courtesy in dealing with the entire issue.
"A grateful person would have negotiated with us in good faith and treated us fairly, and with honesty, basic honesty. She and her manager unfortunately did not."
Despite the messy split-up, she relayed that GMA still wishes Angel all the best when it comes to her career and personal life and hopes she's at peace with her decision.