By Herbert Vego
THERE was a time when Manny Villar seemed to have turned everything he touched into gold, including the farmlands he had bought and converted into subdivisions for the well-heeled. He delights in being the richest Filipino billionaire.
But the latest news about the former Senate President (circa 2006-2008) is that he has terminated the airing of three TV shows on his All Media Broadcasting System (AMBS) TV channel – better known as AllTV — because they were not attracting enough advertisers to break even.
However, it will keep airing reruns of “teleseryes”.
AllTV, by the way, is the free-to-air broadcast tv network airing on Channel 2, which used to be ABS-CBN’s digital channel until the House of Representatives denied the renewal of its franchise for alleged non-payment of correct taxes.
Since no less than the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has denied that ground, there is reason to believe that former President Rodrigo Duterte had ordered the network’s closure for failure to air his campaign ads during the campaign period for the 2016 presidential election.
No doubt, Villar – a known Marcos-Duterte ally — must have imagined taking over a profitable channel.
Wrong, it turned out. Where have all its watchers gone?
Anybody in the TV industry knows that where there are not enough viewers, there are not enough sponsors. As an industry source was telling me, a 30-second ad aired on primetime could earn more or less half a million pesos.
“Better luck next time” is probably the most comforting counsel that the beleaguered network could extend to Willie Revillame, Toni Gonzaga, and Mariel Rodriguez — lead stars of “Wowowin,” “Toni” and “MOM,” respectively — for the sudden death of the said shows in six months or less.
If it was any consolation, the shows’ mainstays would still be compensated in accordance with their contracts to save the company from further losses.
AllTV’s channel 2 has been on the air since its soft opening on September 13, 2022. It used to be the free TV slot of ABS-CBN, which had been denied renewal of franchise for alleged non-payment of correct taxes.
Since no less than the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has denied that ground, there is reason to believe that former President Rodrigo Duterte had manipulated the network’s demise for failure to air his campaign ads during the campaign period for the 2016 presidential election.
The obvious “beneficiary” is AllTV, whose senator-wife Cynthia is an ally of the former President and is also an ally of the present one.
Perhaps, it would be too unkind to impute “karma” on certain individuals who had offended the disabled ABS-CBN and its televiewers, but the word is familiar in Facebook comments.
As far as Willie Revillame and Toni Gonzaga are concerned, they had actively campaigned for elected President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Vice-President Sara Duterte.
While both had been ABS-CBN stars, they offered no word of sympathy to the management and thousands of job losers when the curtain fell in August 2020.
Mariel Rodriguez was not so visible during the campaign sorties, but he is the wife of a Marcos-Duterte enabler, now Senator Robin Padilla.
Willie’s top-rated “Wowowin” was with GMA-TV but he refused to renew his contract so he could join AllTV.
Toni’s “Toni Talks” on YouTube used to be top-rated. One which particularly earned special attention was when she had then Vice President Leni Robredo as guest in August 2021.
It surprised Robredo’s followers that she emceed Marcos’ presidential sorties in the months preceding the May 9, 2022 election.
Why have the 31 million voters for Marcos and 32 million for Sara disappointed Willie and Toni?
Why has actor Robin Padilla’s “popularity” – equivalent to 27 million votes to rank him No. 1 in the Senate race – not rubbed on his wife Mariel?
Do those numbers reside only in the SD cards, courtesy of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and Smartmatic, and don’t count the warm bodies?
Revillame reviled his deserting audience in a recent TV appearance thus: “Sana hindi mawala ito [his show], kasi tumutulong ito sa gobyerno, eh.”
One recalls in retrospect that Willie rose to fame while hosting “Wowowee” on ABS-CBN. In fact, it caused a stampede on February 4, 2006, in which 73 people died and hundreds were injured.
NGCP CALLS FOR ‘TIME OUT’
THE National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) will shut down power in certain areas of Molo, La Paz and Iloilo City Proper on Sunday (Feb. 12) for 12 straight hours from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. for upgrading of facilities.
This notification will serve the purpose of sparing the city’s sole distribution utility, MORE Power, from undeserved blame.
On the bright side, the “darkness” will afford MORE Power the opportunity to focus on the ongoing rehabilitation of its Molo substation, which has been temporarily decommissioned and replaced by a new 30/36 MVA mobile substation.
The brownouts may take the full 12 hours in some areas and only 20 minutes to two hours in others. For specific details, please consult the MORE Power Facebook page.