Congress probes alleged irregularities in MMFF, Honor Thy Father disqualification case

(L-R) Laguna Rep. Dan Fernandez, Honor Thy Father director Erik Matti, and MMFF Executive Committee members Marichu Maceda and Dominic Du.


Nabuhayan ng loob ang Honor Thy Father director na si Erik Matti sa resulta ng unang pagdinig sa Kongreso hinggil sa diumano'y iregularidad sa nakaraang 2015 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).

Pahayag ni Direk Erik, "Ang malaking bagay diyan na hindi naman namin ini-expect, hindi naman namin alam na may jury na a-attend.

"And I'm happy that Atty. [Carmen] Musngi voiced out voluntarily from where she was seating kung ano talaga yung nangyari, and it was echoed by two other jury members that were seating beside her.

"So, maganda yun. At least we were able to see what really transpired inside the jury chambers.

"It was only through two people -- Marichu Maceda and Dominic Du.

"It didn't come from us. Hindi namin sinabi yung mga pangalan na yun.

"It's the jury members who named them as the ones who said not to vote for Honor Thy Father because disqualified na sa Best Picture [category]."

Nakapanayam ng PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) si Direk Erik pagkatapos ng pagdinig sa Kongreso na ginanap sa Belmonte Hall ng Batasang Pambansa Complex, Lunes ng hapon, January 11.

Ang Honor Thy Father ay iprinodyus ni Dondon Monteverde ng Reality Entertainment at pinagbidahan ni John Lloyd Cruz, na isa ring co-executive producer ng naturang pelikula.

HEARING ON DISQUALIFICATION OF HONOR THY FATHER. Una sa agenda ang pagdiskwalipika sa MMFF entry na Honor Thy Father bilang Best Picture nominee sa MMFF Awards Night, na ginanap noong December 27, 2015.

Dito ay inihayag ni Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman at MMFF Overall Chairman Emerson Carlos na nadiskwalipika ang Honor Thy Father dahil sa isyung "non-disclosure," kung saan hindi umano ipinalaam sa kanilang pamunuan na naipalabas na ang naturang pelikula sa Cinema One Originals Festival bago pa sa MMFF.

Kinuwestiyon ng kampo ni Direk Erik kung bakit hindi nagkaroon ng "due process" ang kanilang kaso, lalo pa't December 26 lamang lumabas ang desisyon ng MMFF Executive Committee tungkol sa diskwalipikasyon ng Honor Thy Father.

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Kaugnay nito, inamin ni MMFF ExeCom member Marichu "Manay Ichu" Maceda na nagkaroon ng "rekomendasyon" ang MMFF Special Committee at Rules and Regulations Committee na idiskwalipika ang Honor Thy Father dahil sa isyung "non-disclosure" noon pang December 14.

Taliwas ito sa pahayag ni Atty. Agnes Maranan, legal counsel ng Reality Entertainment, na noong November 5 ay nakapagsumite sila ng sulat sa MMFF Executive Committee na nagsasabing kabilang ang Honor Thy Father bilang opening film sa Cinema One Originals.

Napag-alaman din sa imbestigasyon ng Kongreso na nakarating lamang kay MMDA Chairman Carlos ang tungkol sa isyu noong December 25, simula ng MMFF, na siyang nag-udyok dito na magpatawag ng "emergency meeting" para sa MMFF ExeCom noong December 26.

MMFF JURY MEMBER'S TESTIMONY. Base pa rin sa pagkuwestiyon ng Kongreso sa mga sangkot sa isyu, boluntaryong ibinulgar ni MMFF Board of Jurors member Carmen Syquia Musngi kung paano sinuri ang mga pelikulang nominado para sa MMFF Best Picture category.

Pahayag ni Musngi, "[On] December 21, that was the third night, we were deliberating with my [Board of Jurors] chairman and my co-jurors.

"Suddenly, when we were talking about Best Picture, Mr. Dominic Du and Manay Ichu from the side said that, 'By the way, you cannot judge Honor Thy Father because it's disqualified from the Best Picture [category].

"We were quite confused pa nga, so we said, 'Disqualified from all the categories?'

"They clarified, they said, 'No, only in the Best Picture, because they were not open. There was no disclosure.

"'Only for Best Picture [category] because it's for the producer. But for the other categories, its okay.'

"Then I remember, we were asking pa nga, 'Are you telling us or are you asking us if it's gonna be disqualified?'

"One of them said, 'No, we're telling you it's disqualified.'

"So, therefore, from voting itself, we cannot anymore put it there because it was disqualified. That's what we just followed.

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"We said pa nga, 'You have to tell them that they're disqualified because it might go back to us [jurors]. They might say we disqualified them [when in fact] we weren't part of it.'

"They [Maceda and Du] assured us, 'It's okay. It's not anymore your concern. We'll just write to them. They will know.'

"So, we proceeded with the judging. All of us [MMFF Board of Jurors], we didn't put Honor Thy Father as Best Picture because it was disqualified."

TIES INVOLVING ALLEGED CONFLICT OF INTEREST. Bukod sa testimonya ni Musngi, lumabas din sa pagdinig ng Kongreso ang tungkol sa diumano'y kaugnayan ng MMFF ExeCom member na si Dominic Du kay MMFF entry producer Atty. Joji Alonso.

Ito ay kaugnay ng rebelasyon ni Laguna First District Representative Dan Fernandez na pinu-promote diumano ng kumpanyang Axinite Digicinema Inc. ang MMFF entries na Walang Forever at Buy Now Die Later.

Ayon kay Cong. Fernandez, si Du ay "50 percent" incorporator ng Axinite Digicinema Inc. habang si Atty. Alonso ay producer ng Walang Forever at Buy Now Die Later.

Bukod dito, nagsilbi umanong kliyente ni Atty. Alonso si Du para sa isang legal matter noong April 2014.

Bunsod nito, kinuwestiyon ni Cong. Fernandez ang diumano'y kaugnayan ni Du sa isang MMFF producer, gayong nakasaad sa probisyon ng MMFF rules and regulations na ipinagbabawal na maging miyembro ng MMFF ExeCom ang sinumang may kaugnayan sa MMFF participants.

Paliwanag pa ni Cong. Fernandez, "In the Facebook of Axinite Digicinema Inc., nakalagay dun po lahat ng foreign films na sila ang nag-book.

"At dalawang pelikula lamang na Tagalog na nandun ay Walang Forever at yung Buy Now Die Later.

"In other words, sila po yung nagpo-promote ng dalawang pelikulang kasama sa MMFF.

"Mr. Dominic, don't you think it is improper for you, being a member of the ExeCom in the MMFF, promoting the movie nung Quantum Films na Walang Forever?"

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Naniniwala si Cong. Fernandez na posibleng mayroong "conflict of interest" dahil sa kaugnayan ni Du kay Atty. Alonso.

Aniya, "If you are a client of Quantum Films...

"Sino ba nanalo ng Best Picture, di ba, Walang Forever?

"Second Best Picture [Buy Now Die Later, from] Quantum Films also.

"I'm not accusing the board of jurors of doing something.

"Ang sinasabi ko, sinasabi ng rules niyo, there should be no relation [between the MMFF participants and ExeCom members]."

Si Cong. Fernandez, na bahagi ng cast ng Honor Thy Father, ang naghain ng resolusyon sa Kongreso na imbestigahan ang diumano'y iregularidad sa MMFF.

Sa pagpapatuloy ng panayam ng PEP, tinanong namin si Direk Erik kung may kaugnayan ang kanyang series of Twitter and Facebook posts kaugnay ng tinagurian niyang "#MMFFscandal" sa ibinulgar ni Cong. Fernandez.

READ: Erik Matti speaks up about alleged anomalies in MMFF

Pahayag ni Direk Erik kaugnay ng diumano'y kaugnayan ng MMFF producer na si Atty. Alonso kay Du, "We felt that there was something fishy that was going on.

"Why Best Picture of all awards when we all know from the past, kapag may award ka sa Best Picture, may award ka [bilang] Best Director, yung malalaking awards, it equals a good showing at the box office. It could help a film make money.

"E, kami, second day pa lang, ang dami nang natanggal na sine sa amin kasi nga mabigat yung pelikula, seryoso.

"By the award of Best Picture, malaking bagay na magiging interesado yung mga tao na manood.

"Buti na lang, Congress did their own research.

"Nakonek nila na baka, hindi pa naman proven 'yan, allegedly conflict of interest between an MMFF member and a producer of a [MMFF] film.

"Of course, nakonek-konek na lang ng mga Congressmen yun.

"Nung na-disqualify yung Honor Thy Father, ang best picture and second best picture, parehong galing dun sa allegedly connected sa MMFF ExeCom member.

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"Medyo may kulay.

"Let's see in the succeeding days if may merit ba yun or if mapru-prove ba yun."


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