"As soon as Angel gets back, we're signing," announced Becky Aguila, Angel Locsin's manager, last Friday, August 3, in a press conference held at ABS-CBN's Training Room.
"It's official. Angel's move from GMA-7 to ABS-CBN is no longer just a mere option. "That was a decision that we have already made," said Becky.
AN ANGEL IS BORN. Angel's father, Angel Colmenares, narrated, "I was the one who suggested [her screen name] because her name is Angelica Colmenares. When we signed a contract with Becky, she was a minor then, I was the one who signed it. We thought of a name, a screen name for her. Since my mother was a Locsin-Montelibano, we decided to give her the screen name ‘Angel Locsin’ because ‘Angelica Colmenares’ is too long."
The name stuck. Soon enough, Angel started appearing in the youth-oriented show Click. Becky had an agreement with Artist Center—the talent management arm of GMA-7 headed by Yda Henares—to co-manage the budding young actress.
Becky explained, "We had a regular show that time, Click. Kinausap ako ni Miss Gigi Santiago na, ‘Tatlo ang talents mo diyan, si Karen delos Reyes, Diane Delfin, Angel Locsin. Nag-i-start pa lang si Miss Yda, suportahan mo naman. Para magka-suportahan kayo, bigay mo ‘yong tatlo. Mag-co-manage kayo.'
"I said yes kasi kung ano ang mai-improve sa mga alaga ko at mapapangalagaan at dalawa kaming magkakatulungan, wala namang problema doon."
Indeed the relationship was beneficial for both parties. Angel was given the top projects—Mulawin, Darna, Majika, and Asian Treasures—and GMA-7 had a certified star.
"Wala naman kaming problema sa mga projects kasi talaga namang overwhelming ang suporta nila [GMA-7] kay Angel. And we truly appreciate that. Maraming artista ang gustong malagay sa posisyon ni Angel dahil lahat naman ng magagandang show, 'yong big-budgeted show, sa kanya napupunta. And we really appreciate Artist Center and Ma'am Wilma for prioritizing Angel sa big-time soaps nila," admitted Becky.
SHOWBIZ ADOBO. What seemed to be a symbiotic relationship turned sour somewhere along the way. Artist Center handled Angel's schedule, a schedule that Becky opposed.
Becky explained, "Di ba, nagkaroon kami ng gap ni Angel for almost two years? I'm the one who took over with Artist Center, so kung ano ang latag ng schedule sa bata, ‘yon ang sinusundan namin.
"Iyon [schedule] talaga that's the number one concern ni Daddy, being the father, and Angel naman, being the daughter, they want to spend time. May edad na si Daddy. Gusto ni Angel over the weekend, makapag-bonding silang mag-ama at magkaroon sila ng mas magandang relationship na magkakapatid because there's Angelo and Ella. Aside from that, gusto niyang magkaroon ng time for herself aside from what she is doing.
"Di ba, kahit naman sino, pag bigyan mo ng adobo from Monday to Sunday nagsasawa ka?"
Becky added that Angel is also venturing into business. Angel is teaming up with a group of young entrepreneurs in putting up her very own sportswear line called Angel Active. This was mainly why Angel took up a short course in fashion design at the London School of Fashion.
"Angel is already 22," Becky said. "She is a high school graduate. Angel's dad and I, we discussed this a long time ago that she needs to move on, get an education. There was this opportunity for a business, a sportswear business, which we thought will be good for Angel."
"When she comes home from her two weeks [sic] course fashion designing, she's going to take up business entrepreneurship. This is also in line with her business.
"May na-chismis na mayroon daw siyang financier or boyfriend na ang pangalan ay Joel Tan. I already asked an apology doon sa father niya, si Lucio Tan. Hindi naman po totoo iyon. And there's no Joel Tan here, Joel Santos [mayroon].
"Actually, si Angel, hindi pa niya gaano kilala nang lubusan ang business partners niya dahil nga sa araw-araw na pagtratrabaho niya, I was the one who was really negotiating with these guys. Si Joel Santos kasi is identified with Vivian Tan. Vivian Tan is a business partner of East Asia Entrepreneurship na sa anak ni Lucio Tan. So akala niya, Joey Tan and Lucio Tan pareho iyon."
DEAL OR NO DEAL. Angel's contract stipulated a five-year co-management deal with Artist Center, which expired on March 31, 2007. Prior to the expiry of the contract, GMA-7's Senior Vice President Wilma Galvante presented an offer to Angel to renew the said contract.
Becky recounted: "Before March 31, pinatawag ng management si Angel prior to her departure to Bangkok. I think that was around March 13. Nilapit sa kanya ‘yong panibagong kontrata...
"Kinausap siya [ni Wilma] and Angel was being asked to sign, but Angel said, ‘Tita, kausapin ninyo muna si Tita Becky.' So when Angel got back, she told me and Daddy, ‘May pinapapirmahan na kontrata, but I didn't sign kasi I really wanted you to take a look at it.'
"Nag-set-up sila ng appointment for me. Ako naman because I was also busy with Angels at that time nagkita kami ni Ma'am Wilma March 27, a few days before the expiration of the contract, and diniscuss niya sa akin ‘yong contents ng contract.
"There were some concerns regarding the renewal and I told her that I'll bring it home first and show it to my lawyer and show it to Angel's father—for Angel's father to check with their lawyer as well. Sabi niya, ‘Pag okay na, balik mo na lang iyan dito.'
"During our conversation, nag-pop-out ‘yong question ko, ‘Can we no longer renew with Artist Center.' Kasi that was our outmost concern, e. Sabi niya at that time, ‘Hindi, kasi si Angel, we created Angel. Angel is an Artist Center baby so you have to renew with us.'
"[Sabi ko] ‘Is there a possibility that we can have a similar contract as Richard?' But I didn't specify about talent fee. And she said, ‘No, kasi iba naman ang kaso ni Richard. Kasi Richard is not really from this station, but Angel started with this station.'
"So I did ask Ma'am Wilma kung puwede bang, let's say, ayusin ang schedule, kung puwede ba kaming magkaroon ng regular taping schedule, ‘yong masusunod na this time. Sabi niya, ‘She can go naman to school, provided na she will bring naman her assignments and then just do her homework either sa taping or kung ano ‘yong available day na puwede siya.'
"The most important part there was that parang hindi siya sure kung four or three... Hindi niya mai-commit sa amin kung ano ang regular taping days ni Angel.
"I brought it home and discussed it with Angel's dad and Ella. I made Ella read the contents of the contract. We all decided na ‘wag na lang munang pumirma sa Artist Center.
"A few weeks later, natapos na ang contract, dumaan na ang March 31. Naging very busy na ako [sa Angels] dahil first venture ko iyon. I was working on Angels as P.A. [production assistant], as overall, supervising the movie. It was very important for me na tumutok. So hindi ko agad nabalikan si Ma'am Wilma. We were actually preparing a letter for her para to inform her na we are not signing the contract because nga we don't agree with the co-manage anymore."
Becky clarified that the decision not to renew the co-management contract was not because she wanted the commission for herself.
"Hindi naman dahil gusto ko ma-solo ang kumisyon. That's very unfair on my part. I've been sharing my commission from day one," she argued.
She explained the co-management deal, "In the past, pag regular show, manager lang ang kumukuha. Kumukuha lang sila [Artist Center] sa guesting, 12.5 percent for them and 12.5 percent for me, or kahit sinong involved sa Artist Center.
"Recently naglabas sila, I think that was last year, June, ng memo na effective that June, kukuha na sila ng 12.5 percent, so wala nang 20 percent ang manager or whatever is stipulated in a manager's contract doon sa talent na nasa Artist Center. So naghahati na talaga, mainly because sila daw ang nagbibigay ng mga projects so entitled na silang kumuha ng porsiyento. Kumbaga sa kanila galing iyong project, e. All the endorsements of Angel, they got 12.5 percent. Naghahati kami."
The contract expired, but still there was no word from Angel's camp. Yda Henares of Artist Center called Becky's attention.
"Yda called me, ‘Beck, what's happening? Bakit hindi mo binabalikan si Ma'am Wilma? She's waiting. You better tell her kung ano ang desisyon niyo.'
And I did tell her na I'm preparing a letter pa for [Ma'am Wilma] and I will advise her na we are no longer signing up with Artist Center. Pero kako, ‘Yda, kahit na anong pumasok, like ‘yong sa commercials, tuloy pa rin tayo. Basta we will honor all the contracts that are existing at kung mag-renew pa ‘yong endorsement na iyon, sige-sige pa rin. Tuluy-tuloy pa rin ang endorsement namin.'
Sabi niya, ‘Why don't you call her and talk to her [Wilma] na lang?'
"And Redgie Magno [GMA-7 production manager] also called me and I did tell her about my decision, our decision, that we are no longer signing with Artist Center. So after a few weeks, kinatok ulit ako ni Redgie, ‘Kamusta ka na? Why haven't you seen Ma'am Wilma? Kung ano man ang pinaplano mo, sabihin mo na sa kaniya...' I think that was around May na.
"Nasabi ko, ‘O sige, I'll set up an appointment.' Sabi niya, ‘Whatever you have in mind, you better tell her kasi you're making her wait.' Sabi ko, ‘It's not my intention to make her wait. It's just that hindi ko pa natatapos ‘yong letter.'
"Hindi pa namin matapos-tapos ‘yon kasi nga we didn't know how to tell her because she's really expecting us to sign with Artist Center and I really didn't want to break Ma'am Wilma's heart and siyempre doon nga naman nagsimula si Angel.
"Out of utang na loob, naghahati ang emotions namin. Should we or should we not? We were in the process of analyzing everything.
"After that, May 10, nag-set-up ako ng appointment kay Ma'am Wilma and doon na kami mismo pumunta sa bahay niya, kami ni Daddy. Nakarating na siyempre sa kanya na hindi na kami pipirma with Artist Center. We did not discuss a new contract dahil nauna ang tanong tungkol sa Marimar. Sabi niya, ‘We have a project for Angel. It's Marimar.'"
To be continued...