BIZ BUZZ: Benitez and the future of Eat Bulaga! | Inquirer Business

BIZ BUZZ: Benitez and the future of Eat Bulaga!

/ 02:16 AM May 18, 2023

Those following the Eat Bulaga! saga may find clarity on the fate of the iconic noontime show pretty soon.

Prospective Eat Bulaga! investor Albee Benitez—who made a name in business before entering politics—is scheduled to meet with the TVJ (Tito, Vic and Joey) gang today to discuss the possibility of running the show on another TV channel. That means breaking away from TAPE Inc. after a 44-year run.

One may ask, doesn’t TAPE own the Eat Bulaga! trademark?


It turned out that when this production house was set up decades ago, the founders didn’t bother to register a trademark and there were no formal contracts with the hosts. The structure is still so informal to date.


So theoretically, if former Senate President Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto and Joey de Leon decide to create a new outfit and run Eat Bulaga! on another TV network, they can do so.

However, they can’t stay with GMA-7 because TAPE, now controlled by the Jalosjos group, holds the airtime rights to the noontime slot for two more years. If TVJ couldn’t resolve their conflict with Jalosjos, their next option is to bring the whole gang to a new production outfit on another channel.

Here is where Benitez, the incumbent Bacolod City mayor, comes in.

He confirmed to Biz Buzz his interest to invest in Eat Bulaga! as long as the TVJ gang would agree among themselves to formalize the structure.

Benitez is no stranger to this business, as his Brightlight Production already creates TV content. He and Tito Sotto also know each other, both being former legislators.

“It’s an institution already,” Benitez told us, when asked why he’s interested in Eat Bulaga! He adds humbly that Eat Bulaga! has become such a strong brand that TVJ could very well continue this even without him.


But if a deal with Benitez is firmed up, Eat Bulaga!, under a new production outfit, may move to TV5 or the “Kapatid” network of tycoon Manuel V. Pangilinan.

However, since TVJ won’t settle for anything other than the 12 noon to 2 pm time slot, that means bumping off Showtime. If this happens, some say it won’t be surprising if the Vice Ganda-topbilled variety show would consider transferring to GMA-7.

Benitez reckons that TVJ may still be persuaded to stay by the Jalosjos faction. It’s up to the gang, he said. In any case, he’s willing to invest if and when the coast is clear.

—Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

Ayala’s new guy

We’ve told you that the young rainmaker who just left the mother ship, an international financial institution, won’t remain unemployed for long.

We were talking about 35-year-old Mark Uy, Philippine country head of Credit Suisse, which is in the midst of an ongoing merger with UBS.

He has a number of offers on the table, but based on a Bloomberg report, Uy has signed up to join the country’s oldest conglomerate, Ayala Corp.

Our sources say Uy, who will start in early August, will handle business development, taking on the post once handled by Eric Francia (now head of AC Energy), Paolo Borromeo (now head of AC Health) and next-generation tycoon Jaime Alfonso Zobel de Ayala (who will likely be assigned to run one of the business units).

Uy will report directly to Cezar Consing, Ayala Corp. president and CEO.

It’s an opportunity for Uy, who is just a few years older than Jaime Alfonso, to work with the next-generation Zobels as the conglomerate further deepens its talent pool.

—Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

GCash off the hook?

It has been almost a fortnight since the GCash incident when, as this newspaper reported, a total of about P37 million was pilfered from an undisclosed number of e-wallet accounts and into nefarious accounts in two banks—one in EastWest Banking Corp. and the other in Asia United Bank.

As of this writing, regulators including the National Privacy Commission and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) are “still working” with GCash to unravel the mystery. So far, nothing has been said about any company being censured or the BSP meting out any penalty or punishment.

But what if the regulator uses the same words to describe the event? Does that mean you are cleared of responsibility?

At a press briefing on May 15, BSP Governor Felipe Medalla did not name names. He talked about “a recent event” when “an important e-money company” reported that its depositors complained about their account balances falling right before their very eyes, although the customers were not doing anything—like making payments or transferring funds.

“Luckily they (the company) were able to respond quickly,” Medalla said, adding that the incidents were “not due to hacking, they are due to phishing.”

The BSP chief said that some people were actually turning over their one-time password to the scammer. This is the six-digit code that triggers a transfer of funds, and which only the account owner is supposed to know.

Medalla said that with the company’s quick response, “they recovered maybe 80 percent of the money that was stolen.”

In GCash’s own words, no hacking nor glitch occurred on its platform. “The incident last 8 May 2023, was a deliberate phishing attempt that happened outside of the GCash app. Some users may have unknowingly shared their information to suspicious sites masked as legitimate brands or institutions.”

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Two days later, in a huddle with reporters, Medalla had no qualms about referring to GCash. This time he said that based on a report submitted by the company, “almost all of the amount” or the money that was pilfered was still in two accounts at two banks, which he did not want to name.

—Ronnel W. Domingo
TAGS: Biz Buzz, Eat Bulaga, GCash

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