Annabelle Rama is furious at GMA-7 senior vice president for entertainment Wilma Galvante for what she claims as an act of "sabotage" on the opening day of her son Richard Gutierrez's movie with KC Concepcion, "For the First Time", last August 27. Galvante's "brainless" move, Rama said, was authorizing the staging of the birthday concert "Let's Celebrate" of Richard's fellow GMA-7 contract artists Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera on the same night. Rama went as far as charging Galvante as having "never really liked Richard" in an exclusive interview with Inquirer Entertainment. “Sabotahe,” Rama said. “Sa umpisa pa lang magkagalit na talaga kami ni Wilma. Si Annette and Felipe Gozon lang ang may gusto kay Richard.” Atty. Felipe Gozon is GMA Network chair while his daughter, Atty. Annette Gozon-Abrogar is GMA Films president. Rama claims GMA-7 did not support the promotion of "For the First Time," a production of Star Cinema, the film outfit of rival ABS-CBN. GMA-7 agreed to loan out its contract star Gutierrez for the project in exchange for another pairing with KC under GMA Films to be directed by Jose Javier Reyes set to open on Valentine's Day next year. “Tinapatan nila ang lahat ng TV appearances ni Richard sa ABS-CBN. Kung may utak s’ya (Galvante), dapat naisip n’yang this is Richard’s movie,” Rama further told Inquirer Entertainment. For her part, Galvante denied any sabotage and said there was no intention to pit Dingdong and Marian's show against the first-day screening of Richard and KC's movie. She claimed the Araneta Coliseum, the concert venue, was unavailable on August 29 and 30, the original dates the network considered for the show. She also said they didn't consider staging the concert at another venue because of an existing agreement between GMA-7 and the Araneta group. Rama said she was only protecting the interests of her son. She said Richard leaving the network was an option but said it was an issue "too early" to discuss. Holding simultaneous show biz events are being considered in local show biz as head-on competition, regardless of whether it is a film showing or a concert. However observers see nothing wrong with it. Seiko Films producer Robbie Tan even sees this as "healthy" and provide audiences more choices. Others even think it is not a head-on battle because the concert is a one-night event while the movie has screenings the whole day and would be shown on theaters for at least a week.
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Talent manager Lolit Solis will not challenge Annabelle Rama’s verbal tirades over her own remarks that questioned Ruffa Gutierrez’s ill-feelings towards Lani Mercado. “Ayokong makipag-away kay Annabelle. Hindi dahil sa natatakot ako sa kanya. Wala akong iniwanang laban. Kung kailangan akong makipag-away, makikipag-away ako. Pero ayokong makipag-away sa kanya dahil tinitignan ko pa rin yung 30 years na naging friendship namin. Wala pa si Ruffa, magkaibigan na kami. Kaya nagtataka ako bakit nagiging personal ang mga bagay na ito,” Lolit says in a live interview Saturday on GMA-7 showbiz oriented talk show “Startalk,” which she co-hosts. Ruffa had voiced out her hurt in ABS-CBN’s “The Buzz” last March 2 over Lani’s supposed snub in a recent party and the wake of the mother of Chit and Ethel Ramos. Lolit, who is Lani’s manager, slammed Ruffa’s disclosure in a radio interview saying her ward has all the right to express her feelings and should not apologize for her actions. This led to Ruffa’s mom Annabelle to make an impassioned reaction in several media interviews over the past week. “Sobra sobra. Kung tirahin mo (Lolit) ang anak ko below the belt. Ikaw Lolit nakalimutan mo na kung saan ka nanggaling. Bakit? Ano ba ang nagawa ni Ruffa sa iyo? Sabi mo mag-sorry si Ruffa sa iyo, for what?” Annabelle remarked in a taped Startalk interview. According to Lolit, Annabelle appealed to her not to make any comment regarding the issue through a phone call but she claimed she already given the interview before she talked to Ruffa’s mom. A succeeding article on Lolit’s radio remarks also surfaced the next day that infuriated Annabelle further. Lolit also disclosed that Ruffa herself called her begging not to aggravate things with further comments because it could reach her estranged husband Yilmaz. Ruffa was romantically linked to Lani’s husband Sen. Bong Revilla several years ago, long before she married Yilmaz. This supposed link was rumored to have been the cause of the snubbing incidents. "Si Ruffa, naawa ako nung tumawag sa akin. Tumawag siya sa akin, umiiyak. Sabi niya, ‘Tita Lolit, baka mamaya malaman ito ni Yilmaz. Mamaya umuwi sa Pilipinas patayin ako.’ Hindi ko naman gugustuhin na mangyari yon dahil nga mahal natin si Ruffa. Kaya kumbaga nag-usap kami ni Annabelle. Nangako ako sa kanya na hindi na ako magsasalita, wala akong gagawin. Nangyari na yon. Nung tumawag na siya, nakapag-radyo na ako. Hindi akalain na isusulat pa ni Ogie Diaz. Pero sinulat man niya, yun naman talaga ang sinabi ko. Walang banggit ang pangalan ni Ruffa,” Lolit stressed. Lani allegedly snubbed Ruffa the first time when they crossed paths during a recent party attended by a deluge of showbiz personalities. Bong and Lani were on their way out while Ruffa and friend Donita Rose had just arrived at the venue. Ruffa kissed Bong on the cheek and then tried to extend another kiss to Lani, who was said to have just looked away. Lani told Startalk that if she indeed showed she was snubbing Ruffa, it was not intentional. “Nagmadali si Bong papalabas. I wasn’t able to greet everybody who was on site kasi nga nag-pi-picture taking. Busy yung entrance. Hindi ko nabati siya. Si Ruffa. So hindi ko intensyon ng mang-i-snub. Nagulat na lang ako na nag-react siya sa show niya.” The second incident happened during the wake of the Ramos matriarch. Lani was reported to have ignored Ruffa even when she was just inches away from where she was seated. Lani explained there was no way she could have noticed Ruffa because she was busy talking to Chit and Ethel. “I was busy talking with some friends. Merong negotiation na nangyayari sa isang side, merong batian on the other side. Tapos I was asked to sit beside them. Si Tita Chit (Ramos) asked me to sit down in front of Ruffa and the position of the chairs were facing the wall. So ang hirap mag move to the left or to the right then Tita Virgie was talking to me. Tita Chit was talking to me so busy yung conversations and I presumed since she was behind me I wouild know who she was talking to kasi hindi naman ako makatingin sa likod dahil kausap ko ang dalawa sa tagiliran ko,” Lani told Startalk. Ruffa mentioned in a separate Startalk interview that she was merely surprised by Lani’s attitude towards her and that led her to talk and was not inclined to pick a fight. “In-air ko lang yung side ko kasi nagtataka rin lang ako bakit hindi ako pinapansin. If you don’t like me okay lang. I didn’t do anything naman to you. Ako naman ang unang bumati sa inyo but if you don’t want to accept my kiss, it’s up to you. Basta as far as I’m concerned, wala akong kaaway. Hindi ako nang-aaway. Lani, for her part, wishes that the controversy would soon end. “Tapos na ito. Matagal na matagal na. I have moved on and I’m sure you have moved on. Nagulat lang ako nung nagsalita ka pero kung na-offend ka, kung parang sa tingin mo na-offend kita, pasensiya. Sa susunod pag nagkita tayo, papansinin kita. Sana magkaintindihan lang,” Lani said. “Ayoko kasing nag-aaway. Wala akong intensyon makipag-away. So let’s smile. Tama na,” she added.