Johnny Manahan in defense of Willie Revillame
The critics have spoken and uploaded their comments/reactions on the Internet on the Wowowee incident and Willie Revillame himself, the man in the eye of what Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP)’s editor Jo-Ann Q. Maglipon called “a firestorm,” has apologized for what happened. We know what it was. Willie’s intention was good and it, in fact, showed his great respect for former Pres. Cory Aquino but many televiewers found the way he expressed it “disrespectful.”
Jo-Ann gave STAR permission to print excerpts of her exclusive PEP interview with Johnny “Mr. M” Manahan, head of the ABS-CBN Star Magic who recalled what really happened.
“Early Saturday morning [August 1], Joyce Liquicia, Business Unit Head of ASAP, informed us of Cory’s passing. Kailangan raw ma-bump off three portions of ASAP to give way sa isang tribute na naihanda nila for over a week.
“Tinawagan ko agad si Willie and asked, ‘Alam mo na ba?’ Willie answered, ‘Ang ano?’ I replied, ‘Namatay na si Cory. Ano ang gagawin natin para sa show mamaya?’ Nagulat si Willie. Pagkatapos ng ilang sandali, Willie said, ‘Wala muna ang opening na sayahan, Direk. Lalabas ako at hihingi ako ng one minute of silence bilang respeto kay Cory. Pagkatapos kakanta ako ng ‘Munting Hiling.’ Makabagbag-damdamin ‘yon at tama lang para sa isang parangal kay Cory.’
“Sanay naman kami sa live show at marunong naman kami mag-improvise. Maganda ang kinalabasan at nakakaiyak ang ginawa naming five minutes tribute para kay Cory. Willie spoke, in-ad lib lang niya ang isang munting eulogy in plain words and in his own inimitable way, then kumanta siya. Nilapat namin ang ilang video materials ni Cory at pagkatapos ng kanta balik kami sa regular show.
“Sabado ito at sinalaysay ko ito para malaman ng lahat na ramdam ni Willie ang paglisan ni Pangulong Cory.
“Willie had a very deep respect not only for Kris Aquino na kasama niya sa industriya but also for President Cory. When she was alive, ilang beses na ipinaabot ni Pangulong Cory ang pasasalamat niya kay Willie for mentioning her name in the show and for always being gallant in praising her.
“Willie has been respectful about major personages. I never heard him disparage any personality in public or private. And among the artists I have known in 35 years, there is none more gracious than Willie in his treatment of guest performers or personalities on his show.
“Once in a while, because of snafus created by the staff and crew, he blows up on air. Because he is perfectionist, he rehearses more than anyone I know. He expects everyone to know the plan because he goes into a trance doing the show and any slight divergence from the plan breaks his trance and affects the performance.
“Monday morning [August 3], I arrived at the studio after following the live telecast of the wake in Greenhills. They were about to move Pres. Cory’s remains to Manila Cathedral and I was closely monitoring events at about 11:30 a.m. We were advised that the show was going to be late that morning. We were told we could be on air by 1 p.m or 1:30 p.m. However, I doubted this and suggested that we go ahead and TAPE the show and air it at whatever time they turn it over to us.
“We had an audience waiting for us and couldn’t let them wait forever. Willie went even further. He suggested PRE-EMPTING the whole show for Monday to give way to the President’s wake. He suggested this to Linggit Tan, ABS-CBN Head of TV Production, who was in Willie’s dressing room. Linggit made a phone call and said, ‘Go ahead, we are pre-empting the show. Go ahead, tape the show to be aired the next day, Tuesday.’
“We went ahead and started taping the show. Thirty minutes into recording, we were advised that higher management decided to air us live again. So we stopped taping and waited until we could go on live. Meanwhile, the station was already airing what we had taped. Willie was in his dressing room watching the portion of the show that we had taped which was now being played back on air.
“He noticed at this time that master control was inserting on one side of the screen the live video events at the Cathedral. Willie reacted to this and called Linggit Tan and asked the insert window be removed. He said it was not appropriate for News to insert video of the wake while we had ‘Giling Giling’ with the studio audience. This, he said, would be disrespecting the solemn event.
“After a while, the insert window areas were taken off the air and the airing of the taped portion proceeded without further inserts. After a few minutes, we now had to go on air live, as we were through airing the taped portion.
“A few minutes into the portion of ’Willie of Fortune,’ I heard my technical director say, ‘Switcher, bakit ganyan ang audio namin, humiwalay?’ I looked up on the on-air monitor and noticed that the audio was off synch with the live video. I asked what was happening and he said that TV News and Current Affairs had inserted once again a video window of events at the Manila Cathedral, and by doing this, they had screwed up our live audio-video synch.
“It was only then that I noticed that they had indeed inserted the videos of the wake at the Cathedral. At that point, I said, ‘Bakit ganyan, dapat nag-permiso muna sila sa atin? Walang abiso ‘yan. Patanggal mo sa switcher.’ While we were trying to get it off the air, Willie noticed what was happening from the floor and blew up on air.”
Labels: Willie Revillame