09 a year of controversies

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — THE controversial people of 2009 includes Annabelle Rama, manager of talents in her Royale Era Entertainment, who waged a big war with GMA exec Wilma Galvante that started with her rejection of a role in “SRO Cinemaserye” for her ward, JC de Vera. Wilma eventually filed a case of libel against Annabelle in court and she also filed counter-charges. Annabelle also had a tiff with own daughter, Ruffa Gutierrez, on her suspicion that Ruffa is having an affair with John Lloyd Cruz. Both Ruffa and John denied it, saying they’re just good friends. Ruffa became the Avon spokesperson for Violence against Women.

PEP, an online entertainment portal, reported that Richard Gutierrez toted a gun on Michael Flores at the birthday party of their director Mark Reyes in March. Richard denied this and filed a libel case against PEP. This was dismissed by a trial court but the Department of Justice reversed the decision. Richard proved to be one of the most talked-about stars this year. He also figured in a vehicular accident in Tagaytay in May where his production assistant, Nomar Pardo, perished. The widow, Lorraine Pardo, later filed a case against Richard for reckless imprudence.

The next most controversial issue is the reported affair between Manny Pacquiao and “Wa-pakman” co-star Krista Ranillo. Initially, Manny said “no comment” only aggravating the situation since he did not deny it straight off. Allegations later that it’s just part of the promo of their movie proved ineffective. Krista and dad Mat Ranillo threatened to sue those writing about it but the threats proved to be empty. In subsequent interviews, Manny’s wife, Jinkee, admitted in effect that the alleged affair between Krista and her husband had indeed badly affected their marriage. Gina Alajar got involved in the issue when she wrote in her Facebook account that she is for Team Jinkee and that Krista is not at all worth it. All the hullaballoo didn’t help the Manny-Krista movie, “Wapakman,” at the box office, which laid a big fat egg.

Pacman also became controversial when it was reported that he’s leaving GMA Network to move to ABS-CBN in March but his contract with GMA and Solar prevented him from doing this. GMA gave him two shows, “Pinoy Records” and “Show Me Da Manny” and his triumphant bouts with Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto later proved to be real topraters and moneymakers.

Another controversial actor is Baron Geisler. After being sued by the daughter of William Martinez and Yayo Aguila for sexual harassment, Yasmien Kurdi also made the same complaint while they were taping for GMA’s “SRO Presents.” He also later figured in a fight with Aljur Abrenica while they were filming the movie “Nandito Ako” on location in Bohol.

Stars who resigned from existing roles include Sunshine Dizon who claimed a case of burnout and left “Tinik sa Dibdib” and “Starstruck V” where she was replaced by Nadine Samonte and Iza Calzado (with whom she is said to have a conflict), respectively. Then there’s Mark Anthony Fernandez who resigned from “Darna” reportedly to rest for his new movie with Claudine Barretto (who left ABS-CBN and jumped ober da bakod to GMA) and the new soap with Regine Velasquez, “Diva.” Dina Bonnevie also asked that her character in “May Bukas Pa” be killed as she’s tired of doing the long-running show.

The floods of typhoon “Ondoy” affected so many areas last September and stars whose homes were ravaged include Cristine Reyes in Provident Village Marikina, Jean and Jennica Garcia in Vista Real, Raymart Santiago and Claudine Barretto in Loyola Gran Villas, Emilio Garcia, Camille and John Prats in Cainta, Gladys Reyes, Jed Madela, Sylvia Sanchez, K Brosas, Joseph Bitangcol, Pilita Corrales in New Manila and Carmina Villaroel-Zoren Legaspi in Pasig. Other stars led by Ogie Alcasid spearheaded a fund-raising concert for the victims, “Kaya Natin ’To,” held at the MOA Grounds.

As usual, there’s the rigodon of stars. Claudine Barretto and Joross Gamboa moved to GMA7. Cristine Reyes threatened to return to GMA but ABS-CBN gave her new projects. Paolo Bediones left GMA to move to the new TV 5 now owned and operated by Manny Pangilinan’s Media Quest.

The reality TV shows go on. Jommy Teotico won in “Pinoy Fear Factor” while Amanda Van Cool won in “Survivor: Palau” but nothing has happened to their showbiz careers so far. Both networks introduced so many new TV shows during the year. At ABS-CBN, their most successful show is “May Bukas Pa” that introduced child actor Zaijian Jaranilla as Santino. Their new edition of PBB Double Up is also their highest rating so far. At GMA7, they successfully launched the love team of Aljur Abrenica and Kris Bernal in the afternoon soap “Dapat Ka Bang Mahalin” that rated more than 30% (better than some shows in primetime, but their launching movie, “Nandito Ako,” wasn’t as successful) and they are now given a new show on primetime, “The Last Prince.” The third show of the Marian-Dingdong love team, “Babaeng Hinugot sa Aking Tadyang,” didn’t rate so well, but both of them scored better solo, with Marian in “Darna” and Dingdong in “Stairway to Heaven.”

Many foreign stars held concerts in Manila but the most successful were those of the two Davids, Cook and Archuleta from “American Idol” at the MOA, and Lady Gaga at the Big Dome.