Noontime tv show ‘Eat Bulaga’ controversy far from over; changes, tv transfer possible

It seems nothing is crystal clear yet on the fate of the popular noon time show “Eat Bulaga” and its producer,  Television and Production Exponent (TAPE) Inc.

This as one of its hosts, former Senate President Vicente Tito Sotto, reacted to claims by TAPE’s chief financial executive, Dapitan City Mayor Bullet Jolosjos.

Interviewed on latest episode of “Updated with Nelson Canlas,” Sotto, one of the triumvirate known as Tito, Vic and Joey who are the main stars of the noontime show, Tito Sen, as the former senator is called, clarified several things about the ongoing controversy rocking the longest noontime show, including insinuations that TAPE is losing or lost P400 million in the show.

Tito Sen said TAPE in fact still owes his brother, Vic Sotto, and co-host Joey de Leon several millions of pesos, approximately P30 million.

There has been speculations that Tito Vic and Joey and TAPE may separate ways and that the show may move to another television station, but nothing definite has come out about the reports.

Meanwhile, Canlas reportedly asked Tito Sen who rightfully owns “Eat Bulaga” and the former Senate leader has a ready answer: “If it’s a copyright issue, definitely, it’s owned by Joey de Leon and the three of us (Tito, Vic and Tony). Kami, s’ya ang nag-imbento ng pangalan.”

When Canlas pressed the former senator if the four of them had “Eat Bulaga” copyrighted, Sotto said: “Uncontestable! Copyrighted or not, may copyright din sila ng merchandising, ‘yung TAPE eh. Meron din kaming mga naka-file eh. Immaterial ‘yun. Ask the lawyers. There’s no such thing na ikaw ang may pagmamay-ari nito pero itong mga nag-imbento, hindi sila? Hindi pwede ‘yun.”

As the show’s brains, Tito Sen said they have also committed themselves to keeping the show’s integrity, which is why he also distances himself from the show whenever he’s elected in office.

“You know ‘Eat Bulaga,’ the three of us and Tony, we’ve always tried our best to keep the image of ‘Eat Bulaga’ as ‘Eat Bulaga.’ Gan’un ‘yun eh. Kaya nga iniiwasan namin ‘yung mga controversial na tao, political, ganyan. As a matter of fact every time I’m elected into a major position in government, I leave. Hindi ako nakiki-alam. At umaattend lang ako kapag inimbita nila ako kung merong anniversary, kapag merong birthday,” saidd Sotto, adding that he never campaigned in the show and even paid for political ads.

“We’ve tried our best to avoid getting ‘Eat Bulaga’ contaminated with political issues or controversial issues. We were very successful eh… With all the controversies that surrounded ‘Eat Bulaga,’ we were able to preserve ‘Eat Bulaga’.”

Sotto clarified that the Jalosjos family and their corporation owns TAPE Inc. As senate president for four and a half years, Sotto said he has gained access to official records that show who’s behind TAPE Inc.’s ownership.

“If you’re talking about ‘Eat Bulaga,’ it’s owned by Tito, Vic and Joey. And now, if you’re asking about TAPE, TAPE is owned by them (Jalosjos family),” he said.

“Seventy-five percent Jalosjos family, 25% si Tony,” Sotto admitted. “I don’t know what they plan to do with that 25%. In fact, mali pa nga ‘yung sinabi ng (TAPE) Board member, 20% percent lang daw. Hindi, 25% si Tony. Tig-8% ‘yung iba. We have the records eh, we can check the records.”

According to him, that 8% belongs to “someone not born in 1981” or when TAPE was founded and started producing the show. He does not think that it is accurate that TAPE gave Tony’s alleged 20% of the shares as the show’s producer.

 According to Tito Sen as reported by their mother studio GMA Network, he decided to give the interview “because all of a sudden one member of the corporation, an officer of the corporation, was interviewed and was not accurate.”

“As a matter of fact, there were false statements that were made,” he added. “So we would rather, and with the consent of Vic and Joey, that we would rather explain and elaborate or perhaps give light to what is true on some of these statements that were made. Iyon ang dahilan.”

Sotto first shared as GMA News reported the history of “Eat Bulaga” — how Product Specialist Inc. was the originally producer and soon lost money, how for one year the show ran on “blood, sweat, and tears” of TVJ (Tito, Vice and Joey) and Tony Tuviera, about how TAPE Inc. finally came on board in 1981.

He also shared the financial rhythm the show came to know: How January to March were lean months, how the -Ber months were like “piyesta.”

“It’s been that way. Its ups and downs, nakaka-recover,” he said.

“Kaya we were always able to carry on. Kaya going back to one of your questions. Anong nangyari, bakit bigla? Ang sabi sa ‘min, nalulugi raw. Kailangan daw, baguhin ang nagpapatakbo. At kailangan daw i-reinvent ang Eat Bulaga, at mayroon daw mga portion na bored sila,” he continued.

The former Senate leader who is a singer and a composer disclosed they had a sit-down meeting to address this and were in fact able to find a way forward.

“Kaya okay na except lately, ‘ika nga, hindi na let sleeping dogs lie. Lately, biglang a member of the board tells media something else,” he said.

According to Sotto in the GMA News report, TAPE owed Vic and Joey money. “Ang laki ng utang kay Vic at kay Joey. Mahigit tig-30 million pesos ang utang sa kanila, for 2022 alone.”

He broke down their finances, saying “SEC documents show that TAPE had a 213 Million net profit for 2021. Paano kang nalugi?”

He points out 2022 as an election year. “Ang political ads, nadagdag doon sa regular, at lumuwag na ang COVID. So iyong expect better than 2023 net profit na iyon ang ni-report mo.”

“But then again, we were informed that a little over 400 million pesos of political ads that were placed in Eat Bulaga, vanished,” he revealed.

When asked where it went, Sotto said “you better ask TAPE.”

“I am disappointed, at the very least. I am disappointed at what’s happening. Lahat-lahat na,” he said in the GMA News report.

Earlier, Mayor Jalosjos, who is chief finance officer of Television and Production Exponent (TAPE) Inc.,  which produces “Eat Bulaga,” appeared on Boy Abunda’s “Fast Talk” on the GMA channel, and clarified several rumors surrounding the long-standing noontime show.

“I want to assure everyone that we are financially stable. The company is okay. We’re doing good. We can pay our talents. We can pay GMA so wala po tayong talagang problema when it comes to money,” Jalosjos said on “Fast Talk with Boy Abunda.”

Jalosjos also said the rumors about Vic Sotto being owed P2 billion, and not having been been paid in nearly a year, is all fake news.

“That’s why maganda po talaga kung sana pwede rin makausap all the talents, maimbita natin sa show din to assure everyone that we are in good relations with the company and with the board, and tuloy-tuloy ang ligaya kay ‘Eat Bulaga,'” he said.

“Updated with Nelson Canlas” has reached out to Bullet Jalosjos and is waiting for a response, GMA News said.