The much-anticipated meeting between Eat Bulaga's Joey de Leon and Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) Chair Consoliza Laguardia finally took place yesterday, September 3, at the latter's office.
According to Abante Tonite columnist Abu Tilamzik, the closed-door meeting lasted for more than an hour.
Joey de Leon has reportedly assured Chairman Laguardia that he would refrain from making snide comments about Wowowee host Willie Revillame.
Despite saying in Startalk last September 1 that he was not ready to bury the hatchet with Willie, Joey is said to have agreed to the ceasefire brokered by the censors chief. Joey's change of heart is also said to have been triggered by Willie's public apology last Saturday, September 1, in his high-rating noontime show.
After the meeting, Chairman Laguardia commented, "Kung may natitira pa siyang [Joey] respeto sa akin, sana tuparin na niya ang pangako niya sa akin."
Meantime, the Eat Bulaga! host asked Willie and his supporters to stop hurling invectives that he said were meant to tarnish his reputation.
"Sana, tumigil na rin ang ibang mga kakampi niya, yung mga cohorts ba? Kasi pagkatao ko na ang sinisira nila, eh," Joey said, obviously referring to entertainment columnists associated with Willie.
Last August 29, Willie gave a lengthy and emotional speech on the air to deny charges that his program engaged in game-rigging. Nine days earlier, or on August 20, during the "Wilyonaryo" segment of his show, Willie pulled up the winning film. This was supposed to contain the P2 million jackpot prize. When he did, the camera showed that a "0," or a zero, rested in the slot. In the background, co-host Mariel Rodriguez was heard to say, "Ahh, 'yon, walang laman!" (With a zero occupying the slot, this would mean there was no "2" anywhere among the slots.) To make matters worse, in Willie's hand was the film containing the number "2." (This would imply that the host could determine when and who to grant the jackpot prize.)
That was hard enough to defend. But Willie went beyond defending the show to go and denounce Joey—whose own noontime show went up against his—for allegedly arousing suspicion about the integrity of Wowowee's games.
The following day, August 30, Joey hit back, also on air, and called on Willie to explain the mess in the contest instead of complaining about him. Joey's meaning was clear: as far as he was concerned, Willie was diverting the focus from the game's mishap.
SENATE INVESTIGATION. Despite the imminent settlement between the two hosts, an important, interested party has stepped into the controversy. The Senate, through Senator Mar Roxas who heads the Upper House's Committee on Trade and Commerce, has expressed interest in investigating the latest Wowowee case.
Roxas formally filed a resolution yesterday, September 3, calling for a probe "in aid of legislation."
The motion, known as Resolution No. 111, affirms that the state has an obligation to protect and uphold the interest of the consumers, including sales promotion. The senator contends that this is stated in Republic Act No. 7394, or more commonly known as The Consumer Act of the Philippines.
By definition, game shows are under the Act's jurisdiction and can be investigated when the possibility of fraud exists.
Roxas said that the resolution is based on an earlier complaint submitted to his committee by professor Bayani Santos.
For his part, Senator Gregorio Honasan has endorsed the proposed "Hello, Pappy" inquiry: "We are definitely endorsing the Senate investigation. This is all about fairness, and ensuring the probity of all popular contests, whether onscreen or off screen, in order to safeguard consumers."
Honasan even compared the Wowowee case to the case of a US game show, which he did not name, that was accused of fraud in 1959. In that case, the US Congress stepped in to investigate.
Meanwhile, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has yet to divulge the results of its own investigation.