The travails of Pacman and Wowowee
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2010-08-19

Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao and Willie “Wowowee” Revillame were the two big endorsers of my Kumpadre Manny Villar during the 2010 presidential election campaign. Both of them exerted great effort to promote Manny Villar’s presidential bid. 

Political endorsers usually confine their promotional spiel within the space and time of paid advertisements. In the case of Pacquiao and Revillame, they went to great lengths, joined Villar rallies and even provided editorial content.

In the case of Manny Pacquiao, he even attacked winning presidential candidate Noynoy Aquino for being so full of Laban (Fight) without winning one big fight. After Aquino won the presidency — after Pacquiao also won as Sarangani Congressman — we saw Pacquiao trooping to Aquino’s Times Street residence to pledge fealty to the Aquino administration. That eating of humble pie would enable him to partake of the pork barrel and other perks that administration Congress allies are expected to enjoy.

Last week, Pacquiao announced that he plans to conduct the training for his next boxing match at the Batasan Complex where Congress is situated. House Speaker Sonny Belmonte wisely rejected Pacquiao’s plan which would have been tantamount to defiling the House of Representatives because only Congress related work should be done there.

Pacquiao is totally out of line and will be insulting the House of Representatives and his constituents in Sarangani by conducting his training in the Congress premises. In fact, even if he trains elsewhere, he is not entitled to be absent from Congress sessions or committee affairs. Any absence from his work in Congress in order to train can be considered as a betrayal of public trust. Pacquiao should know that his job as Sarangani Representative demands a full time commitment.

In the case of Revillame, he passionately lambasted the ABS-CBN coverage of the Villar presidential campaign. He was seen ranting on TV that the ABS-CBN newscasts were not showing the big crowds which the Villar rallies were attracting. Revillame accused ABS-CBN of showing only the personalities and candidates on stage but avoided to show the big crowds watching them. That was tantamount to accusing ABS-CBN of editorial dishonesty.

When your Chair Wrecker saw Revillame ranting against his home network — knowing how ABS-CBN News and Public Affairs boss Maria Ressa will surely react to that tirade — it was easy to foretell that an eventual day of reckoning was just around the corner. To begin with, many saw that the big crowds which attended Villar rallies were there more for the shows Revillame staged rather than to listen to the messages of the Nacionalista Party candidates. Manny Villar’s third place finish did not match the size of the crowds which attended his rallies.

Revillame should have left it at that. However, he made the fatal mistake of hurling a challenge to the ABS-CBN bosses in a way that forced Chairman Gabby Lopez and the network management to take him to task if they were to preserve their self respect as a prestigious leading network. Smarting from comments made by Jobert Sucaldito, a network showbiz commentator, Revillame demanded that the ABS-CBN bosses choose between keeping him and firing Sucaldito.

Facebook and Twitter went ballistic with an avalanche of comments denouncing Revillame for what many considered as unjust and arrogant demands. The public reaction against Revillame forced the hand of Gabby Lopez and the rest of ABS-CBN top management. In the subsequent ABS-CBN annual board meeting, Revillame was denounced by Jerry Quibilan. The fact that ABS-CBN aired Quibilan’s reaction indicated how the network will decide on the issue.

The rest, as they say, is now showbiz history. Revillame was suspended and eventually lost his daily noontime show which was recently replaced by Pilipinas Win na Win — featuring Robin Padilla and Kris Aquino, among others. As it turned out, this was the least of Revillame’s problems.

Having been adapted to a reported over P20 million a month income and lifestyle from Wowowee, Revillame suddenly found no money pouring from the ABS-CBN golden spigot. From a close Chair Wrecker friend, we learned that Willie Revillame had big financial commitments to service.

Revillame’s contract with ABS-CBN was set to expire in 2011 but last week Revillame announced that he was terminating the contract effective immediately. He justified the termination as the appropriate response to the earlier “contract violations” made by the network. The courts may have to determine the validity of Revillame’s assertion. What Revillame’s attempt to terminate his contract with ABS-CBN indicates is that he needs to generate new revenue sources to replace the dried up ABS-CBN golden spigot. 

On the part of ABS-CBN, it’s logical for them to opt to keep Revillame under contract until 2011. They know the revenue potential of Wowowee and would not want a rival network benefiting from its transfer. It also gives their replacement show, Pilipinas Win na Win, enough time to take off and establish itself.

Oh, when it rains, it pours — even when you’re a Manny Pacquiao or a Willie Revillame. Pacquiao should have chosen between boxing and politics while Revillame should not have pressed his luck and challenged the ABS-CBN gods. Their present travails, others might call it hubris.

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