MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Early on Saturday, January 16, ABS-CBN released a video of director Cathy Garcia-Molina speaking about the verbal abuse and disrespect complaint of former Forevermore talent Alvin Campomanes. (READ: Former ‘Forevermore’ talent: Director Cathy Garcia-Molina has no respect for extras)
The 17-minute video was an interview with Boy Abunda, and was the first time that Cathy has addressed the matter.
In the video, Cathy first explained that she first found out about Alvin and his girlfriend Rossellyn’s open letter through social media, and that by that time, people had already started calling her offensive names. People were attacking her children and family as well.
She then admitted that she really did curse at Alvin on the set of Forevermore, but that his and Rossellyn’s story lacked context.
“Hindi rin kasi nakalagay sa letter ilang beses siya nagkamali. Hindi rin naman nakalagay sa letter ilang beses paulit-ulit kunan yun. Hindi nakalagay sa letter anong senaryong bumabalot, kung bakit ako nakarating sa ganoong emosyon. I admit, nagkamali ako. I admit nagmumura po ako... With all good intentions of course, of sana mapaganda yung show, mapaarte yung artista, makuha ang kailangan para maging maganda yung show.”
(It didn’t say in the letter how many times he made a mistake. It also didn’t say in the letter how many times we had to shoot the scene. It didn’t say in the letter the scenario, why I reached that level of emotion. I admit, I got mad. I admit I curse… With all good intentions of course that hopefully the show will be better, that the actors will perform, that we shoot what is needed to make the show good.)
Rossellyn posted an open letter to Cathy on January 1, explaining that she could not stand how Cathy treated the extras, and how the staff just smiled at the situation.
In spite of that, Cathy added that she isn’t defending cursing – “Mali, mali ang magmura. Pero sana ilagay natin [ang sitwasyon] sa konteksto.” (It’s wrong, wrong to curse. But hopefully we put the situation in context.)
According to Cathy, during the shoot for the particular episode where Alvin and Rossellyn were acting, she was far away from the set because the scenes were wide. She was using a microphone and it was the assistant director running the set.
After Alvin couldn’t get the scene right even though they had rehearsed and given instructions many times, Cathy said that she spoke up. “Yung sumunod, nagsalita ako. To be exact ang sinabi ko, ‘Sino ba kausap mo ba’t di ka tumingnin? Tingnan mo, ang kulit mo naman eh. Pakshet ka.” (What followed was that I spoke. To be exact, I said, ‘Who are you talking to, why can’t you look? Look at the person, I’ve told you so many times. Pakshet ka.’)
Cathy explained: “Dito sa industriya natin, hindi ko sinasabing tama ang pagmumura. Pero di, sa atin, may ibang kahulugan ang pagmumura. HIndi na siya mura to degrade or to humiliate, or to insult anyone. Ano na na lang siya, bukang-bibig.”
(In our industry, I’m not saying it’s right to curse. But for us, cursing means something else. It’s not cursing to degrade or humiliate, or to insult anyone. It’s just a saying.)
Cathy also echoed ABS-CBN’s previous statement that although she was willing to talk after hearing about the incident, the talent coordinator that hired Alvin and Rossellyn later told her that the matter was settled. (READ: ABS-CBN responds to ‘Forevermore’ talents’ complaint of disrespect)
Cathy said that she is still open to talking to Alvin and Rossellyn today.
The director also said that she doesn’t deserve to be suspended – an outcome that Alvin has voiced out he wanted – for maltreatment. “Ang tanging alam ko, nagmura ako. ‘Yun lang ang tanging alam ko. Hindi ko siya nimaltrato. Hindi pa niya naappreciate na tinawag ko silang mga artista ko, because that’s what I believed in. I believed the talents, or the extras if you may call them, they’re also actors. Pare-pareho iyan sa akin.” (READ: ‘Forevermore’ extra demands suspension of Cathy Garcia-Molina)
(All I know is that I cursed. That’s all I know. I didn’t maltreat him. He didn’t even appreciate that I called him my artists, because that’s what I believed in. I believed the talents, or the extras if you may call them, they’re also actors. That’s all the same to me.)
Throughout the interview, Cathy did tear up. She started choking up when Boy brought up that Alvin compared her to the villains in Jose Rizal’s novels. “Tito Boy, I am not intelligent. I am not as intelligent as him. But I am not heartless. I may have committed mistakes, I have made a lot of mistakes. I have offended people time and again. Hindi ako malinis na tao. ‘Di ako masamang tao. Nagmumura ako (I am not faultless. I am not a bad person. I curse,) yes, but I don’t think it’s the gauge of a good person or bad,” she said.
“I will get mad, diba aakyat ang temper ko, magagalit ako, pero sana intindihin nila at isipin nila na lahat yun para sa show, that at the end of the day, lahat bati-bati. And I thought that was what happened. And I thought after cursing, na hindi ko sinasadiyang makasakit – hindi ko alam nasaktan ko siya, had I known, I would have said sorry,” she added.
(I will not get mad, right my temper will rise, I’ll get mad, but I hope they understand and think that all of that is for the show, that at the end of the day, we are all friends. And I thought that was what happened. And I thought after cursing, that I didn’t mean to hurt anyone – I didn’t know I hurt him, had I known, I would have said sorry.)
Alvin has also voiced out that he wants a public apology from the director.
Cathy added that she has responsibilities as a director, and that there is a lot of pressure on her with every project she gets. “Lagi sa bawat project, nakataya ang leeg ko. Minsan siguro mahirap lang talaga Tito Boy sa pagtaya ng leeg na yun, mahirap na hindi magalit at magsalita ng masakit. At kung nagawa ko man, I am sorry to all those I have offended.”
(Every time for every project, my neck is at stake. Sometimes it’s hard, Tito Boy, that when my neck is at stake, it’s hard not to get mad and say hurtful things. And if I’ve done that, I’m sorry to all those I have offended.)
Treatment of extras
When asked whether she looked down on extras, Cathy responded no. “Nagsimula ako sa simulang-simula. Dumating ako sa industriyang ito walang kaalam-alam. (I started at the very start. I came into this industry knowing nothing.) It took these people, these good people to teach me. But I’ve had my share of those cursing and humilating words.”
When asked if she would have treated Alvin differently had she known he was a respected professor, Cathy said, no. “Pero magbabago dahil kung malalaman kong bago siya. Magbabago kung nalaman ko na baguhan siya, kasi maghahaba ang pasensiya ko para sa kanya.” (But it would have changed if I had known he was new. It would have changed if I knew he was new because I would have more patience.)
Alvin is a historian and a faculty member at the University of the Philippines Manila.
On her end, Cathy said that she did the interview with Boy, because she wanted to air out her side of the story, as many attacked her and her family without knowing the whole story.
“Namura ko siya, nakapagmura ako, dahil nagkamali siya bilang artista ko. Hanggang doon lang ‘yon. Ang natanggap ko beyond what I deserve. Sana after po nito matapos na ‘yon. Sana maiwan ‘to sa aming dalawa lang ni Alvin at kay Rossellyn. Sana makapagusap kami, magaapologize ako if I need to, I will. I will own up to my mistake kasi nagkamali ako, nakapagmura ako sa mga hindi pala nakakaalam sa industriyang ‘to. But beyond that, wala na akong hihingi na sorry Kuya Boy.”
(I cursed at him, I cursed, because he made a mistake as my artist. That’s all. And what I received is beyond what I deserve. I hope that after this, all that ends. I hope that people will just leave it to me and Alvin and Rossellyn. I hope we can talk, I will apologize if I need to, I will. I will own up to my mistake because I made a mistake, I cursed at someone who doesn’t know anything about the industry. But beyond that, there’s nothing else to apologize for.)
Cathy also questioned why Alvin and Rossellyn didn’t go directly to her instead of social media. She said that she only hurt him, and not his family. She was not even directing the curse words at him, but at his character in the show. “Bakit ako, bitbit lahat? Ba’t kailangan masira ako sa maraming tao? Iyon po ang hindi ko maintindihan, and kung ano man po ang dahilan niya, tama si Rossellyn sana magkatawaran kami.”
(Why do I carry all the weight? Why do I have to be destroyed in front of so many people? That’s what I don’t understand, and whatever his reasons, Rossellyn is right and I hope we can forgive each other.)
Alvin and Rossellyn played Makoy and Celia in Forevermore, a now-defunct TV series that starred Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil. According to Alvin and Rossellyn, Cathy cursed at Alvin on set, subjecting him to verbal abuse and humiliating him. On the other hand, they said, she treated the other actors with respect.
Later on January 16, Alvin responded to Cathy’s interview with a post on Facebook.