House starts film fest probe today

Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - January 10, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The House committee on Metro Manila Development will start today its inquiry into alleged irregularities in last month’s Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).

Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo, who chairs the committee, said yesterday Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chief Emerson Carlos, who headed the MMFF executive committee, other film fest officials, actors and producers would attend the probe.

Castelo said Sen. Grace Poe was invited in her capacity as a member of the MMFF executive committee.

“The hearing will push through as scheduled. Senator Poe has sent word that she cannot attend,” he said.

The House panel invited Quezon City Mayor and MMFF board member Herbert Bautista to the hearing.

John Lloyd Cruz, lead actor in the film Honor Thy Father, has yet to confirm his attendance.

MMFF officials disqualified the film from the Best Picture category in the MMFF awards after it was featured in another film exhibition – Cinema One Originals – in October last year.

Its disqualification prompted Laguna Rep. Dan Fernandez, a former movie actor, to file a resolution calling for an inquiry.

Castelo said the reported disqualification of Honor Thy Father and the alleged switching of movie tickets would be the focus of the investigation.

He said he received information that several moviegoers who went to see a certain film were given tickets for another movie purportedly to reflect higher gross earnings for the film.

The House committee wants to know where the reported P1-billion proceeds of the film festival would be allocated, Castelo said.

“The intention is to strengthen the industry, make it more viable and evolve it to become responsive for education and entertainment,” he said.

He added the committee is likewise interested to know why the Cesar Montano starrer, Nilalang, was pulled out of the festival and replaced by another movie.

ACIRC BEST PICTURE CASTELO CESAR MONTANO CINEMA ONE ORIGINALS DAN FERNANDEZ EMERSON CARLOS FILM GRACE POE HERBERT BAUTISTA HONOR THY FATHER
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