MANILA, Philippines—The official statement from the Philippine Movie Press Club (PMPC), released on Wednesday, addressed a controversy that has been festering in the tabloids since trophies for the 21st Star Awards for TV were handed out last Nov. 18.
In the statement, the PMPC acknowledged that it was “getting negative reactions from some quarters about [an] alleged payoff… to protect the votes of a certain nominee.”
Earlier, in his column items and radio show, show biz reporter/broadcaster Jobert Sucaldito claimed he had given “P36,000 to 12 voting members” on behalf of Best Drama Actress nominee Jodi Sta. Maria, for her work in ABS-CBN’s “Walang Kapalit.”
Sta. Maria subsequently lost to Sunshine Dizon, who won for her performance in GMA 7’s “Bakekang.”
In a phone interview Wednesday night with Inquirer Entertainment, Sucaldito reiterated that he “gave the P36,000—but it was a gift, not a bribe.”
He insisted that the cash was “for love of Jodi, but she had nothing to do with it.”
He also pointed out that he didn’t volunteer the cash gift. Actually, he said, it was solicited by a PMPC member just a week before the awards show.
The PMPC statement said that its officials were “willing to face the member who is accusing them of receiving the money.”
In a phone interview, PMPC president Fernan de Guzman said the statement was released “to clear the air,” adding that an investigation was ongoing.
The statement concluded: “[We] stand firm by the awards given… in all the categories.”
Sucaldito countered that he was conducting his own investigation and that he had a list of certain members who received the cash gifts from him—then voted for the eventual winner.
A GMA 7 insider said the network was silent on the matter because “Dizon deserves her award.”
BAYANI SAN DIEGO JR.
Philippine Daily Inquirer