Explainer: Financial problems hounding TAPE Inc. and ‘Eat Bulaga’

June 2, 2023 - 12:30 PM
Photo of Tito Sotto, Vico Sotto and Joey de Leon, three mainstay hosts of "Eat Bulaga" (eatbulaga1979/Instagram)

The departure of “Eat Bulaga” from Television and Production Exponent (TAPE) Inc., the program’s producer, was allegedly due to financial problems.

“Eat Bulaga” officially parted ways with TAPE on May 31. Mainstay hosts Vic Sotto, Tito Sotto and Joey de Leon announced this on the same day.

This announcement, however, was only shown on YouTube. It was not aired on national television on that day.

“Simula ngayong araw, May 31, 2023, kami po ay magpapaalam na sa TAPE, Inc. Karangalan po namin na kami’y nakapaghatid ng tuwa’t saya mula Batanes hanggang Jolo, at naging bahagi ng buhay ninyo. Maraming, maraming salamat sa inyong lahat,” Vic said.

“Saan man kami dalhin ng tadhana, tuloy ang ng isang libo’t isang tuwa,” he added.

Joey also expressed gratitude to the networks that housed the program over the years.

“Lubos ang aming pasasalamat sa mga naging tahanan namin. Unang-una, ang RPN-9 for nine years, and ABS-CBN for six years, at ang GMA for 28 years,” he said.

Tito said the new management no longer allowed them to air live.

“Pumasok po kami lahat ngayong araw para makapagtrabaho, pero hindi po kami pinayagang umere ng new management,” the former politician said.

The trio did not cite any reason behind the sudden departure from GMA Network and TAPE.

The former, meanwhile, disclosed in a statement that it still has a block time agreement with TAPE until 2024.

“Pumasok po kami lahat ngayong araw para makapagtrabaho, pero hindi po kami pinayagang umere ng new management,” GMA Network said.

Nevertheless, the broadcast company expressed sadness for the “unexpected turn of events.”

RELATED: Joey de Leon’s son reacts as ‘Eat Bulaga’ hosts announce show’s split from TAPE

This development came after Tito disclosed the supposed financial problems surrounding TAPE and the noontime variety show.

He listed and explained them in an interview with GMA News entertainment reporter Nestor Canlas on April 25.

Funding problems

Tito told Nestor that there was a management shakeup that recently took at TAPE, Inc.

He said the “board” was previously planning to retire Tony Tuviera, the creator of “Eat Bulaga.” In this way, a new group of members can handle the program’s production.

Tito said an acting CEO of TAPE was the one who told them about these changes.

The trio, however, disagreed with this move.

“We thought na hindi pwede! Wala namang diperensya eh,” Tito said.

The long-time host then alleged that the company has funding problems, but not with the production side.

“May diperensya sa financing. Sa funding. Malaki diperensya sa funding! Pero sa kanilang problema ‘yun. Problema ng TAPE ‘yun, hindi problema ng ‘Eat Bulaga’ ‘yun. ‘Di ba? TAPE is the producer. ‘Eat Bulaga’ is the production. ‘Eat Bulaga’ is Tito, Vic and Joey,” he emphasized.

READ: ‘They’re asking everyone to resign’: Tito Sotto lambasts TAPE in new ‘Eat Bulaga’ tell-all 

Budget problems

Tito also recalled that TAPE eyed the “retirement” of “Eat Bulaga” employees, including those who were veterans in the company.

He said this was a measure the company executives thought could address budgetary issues.

Tito, who disagreed with the move, explained that they were not given assurance that the affected workers will be hired again.

This idea was once again brought up during a general assembly last February.

Tito said that TAPE Inc. owner Romeo Jalosjos told them thath time about cost-cutting measures, reinventing the program and the retiring scheme of employees.

“Nu’ng general assembly, ang mga sinabi ni Romy (TAPE Inc. owner Romeo Jalosjos), naging controversial sa marami sa amin. ‘Yan, nandudu’n ‘yung magreretire tapos irerehire, babaguhin ang ganito. ‘Yun daw income n’ya na P10 million a month aalisin na n’ya, gagawin n’yang P200,000 na lang, mga ganun ang sinabi,” he said.

Tito further shared: “Magcocost-cutting daw kasi nalulugi sila. Kailangan daw i-reinvent,” he said.

Unpaid talent fees

TAPE, Inc. allegedly owed a lot of money to Vic and Joey, who are expecting P30 million each.

Tito said this to respond to an earlier statement from a member of the board, claiming that the company has no money problems.

It was Dapitan Mayor Bullet Jalosjos, TAPE CEO, who stated this in an episode of “Fast Talk with Boy Abunda.”

“I want to assure everyone that we are financially stable. The company is okay. We’re doing good. We can pay for our talents. We can pay GMA so wala po tayong talagang problema when it comes to money,” the provincial mayor was quoted in a report as saying.

Tito, however, countered Jalosjos’ claim, mentioning unpaid compensations.

“For 2022, I know for a fact na si Vic at si Joey anlaki ng utang ng TAPE. I don’t know for what reason,” Bullet said.

RELATED: TAPE deducting taxes from Vic Sotto but not paying his salary – Tito Sotto TAPE owes Vic Sotto, Joey de Leon over P30M —Tito Sotto  

Missing political ads

Over P400 million in political advertisements were placed on “Eat Bulaga” in the last national elections, according to Tito.

This hefty amount of money, however, had supposedly vanished.

“You expect better than P230 million net profit na ‘yun na ni-report mo [TAPE]. But then again, we were informed that a little over P400 million of political ads that were placed on ‘Eat Bulaga’ vanished!” Tito said.

When asked about where the money went, the former senate president replied to Nestor: “You should ask TAPE where the money went.”

For Tito, this means that it is TAPE losing money and not the “Eat Bulaga” production.

Side of TAPE Inc.

TAPE released a statement on Thursday, June 1 in response to the resignation of Tito, Vic and Joey.

The statement was signed by Romeo, the TAPE Inc. president.

He said that TAPE Inc. was “saddened” by this development. However, the company respects the hosts’ decision to leave.

“We are grateful to the men and women who worked tirelessly for the past 43 years to make our noontime show number 1. The success of Eat Bulaga is not dependent only on three people but on the collaborative efforts of its talents, crew and loyal viewers,” the statement read.

“We are happy for the full support of GMA-7 in making Eat Bulaga bigger, to bring more fun and excitement to every Filipino,” it added.

Screenshot of the statement of TAPE, Inc. to the resignation of Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto and Joey de Leon (bullet888/Instagram)

On the same day, the rest of the hosts of “Eat Bulaga” resigned from TAPE Inc.

Vic’s wife Pauleen Luna Sotto shared a copy of this letter on her Instagram account.

Screenshot of the resignation letter of “Eat Bulaga” hosts to TAPE, Inc. (pauleenlunasotto/Instagram)

The signatories are as follows:

  • Paolo Ballesteros
  • Ryzza Mae Dizon
  • Maine Mendoza
  • Wally Bayola
  • Jose Manalo
  • Allan K
  • Ryan Agoncillo