Gelli de Belen, Christine Bersola-Babao ‘Face the People’

Pablo A. Tariman
Reformatted TV5 show tackles assorted situations, not all of them for the prudish

FACILITATORS. Gelli de Belen and Christine Bersola-Babao. Photo: Mark Quimpo-Demayo 

MANILA, Philippines – TV5 has come up with a reformatted show called “Face the People” with Gelli de Belen and Tintin Bersola-Babao as hosts.

From the looks of it, the program carries the winning features of the previously aired “Face to Face” with Amy Perez. As everybody following TV5 knows, the show’s principal attractions were guests losing control to the point of nearly coming to blows but held back, nevertheless, by the standby, well-built referees.

In the presscon, Gelli allayed rumors insinuating that she “maneuvered” the hosting job from Amy.

“I was hired when she filed her maternity leave and I have her blessing,” Gelli said. “I already left the job when she came back but then obviously she had other options in mind. I don’t believe in getting jobs at the expense of others.”

Assorted situations

For weeks, Gelli was in Amy’s hosting role, dealing with people’s assorted situations and helping resolve them in the entire swing of a TV program.

What were the concerns at hand? Domestics falling in love with their employers, young boys preferring sexuagenarian guys over beautiful girls, husbands keeping their wives and mistresses under the same roof, and other situations that shouldn’t surprise us in our open-minded milieu.

Yet there’s still the pall of social norms over their lives. And the usual prejudiced questions like, Why are they doing these things? Can they still change for the “better”?

“In this new show,” Gelli said, “we help people make decisions without confronting each other. We ask the subject what his proposed solution is and we consult with our ‘coaches’ with different but appropriate backgrounds.”

Tintin said the show will be about truth and conviction, not about ending their problems right there in the show.

‘Listening heart’

Rappler asked Gelli, who isn’t new to this format, what it takes to host such a controversial show revolving around people’s problems.

“For this kind of show, I think a host has to have a listening heart, an open ear, and an intuitive mind,” she said. “Here you deal with people and with life, and why they end up the way they do is, I think ,not for us to judge.

“They have their own way of doing things, regardless of whether we agree with them or not. Needless to say, I learned to not easily judge people for what they are. In this show, I learned that there are always two sides to a story and one side is not always reliable or conclusive. Looking at the plight of my guests, I also realize that I have so much to be thankful for.”

In a way, the problems unburdened by the guests reflect their society.

Gelli said she wants to invite Janet Napoles to the show to better understand her thinking and, well, her character.

“I couldn’t help but be really angry,” Gelli said about the pork-barrel scandal hounding the now-detained Napoles. “I meet those poor people everyday in my program and that money could have saved some of them from endless poverty. What do I see in society as mirrored by my TV show? Not a pleasant thing to contemplate but we do help people decide what is good for their future.”

For the premiere episode of “Face the People,” Gelli and Tintin will look into the profile, so to speak, of Jerome, a man seeking to have a sex change after he fell in love with a foreigner who has no idea he’s a guy. The sex-change operation is his idea of pleasing his partner and hopefully he would be assured of financial support.

The afternoon (4:30pm) weekday show starts airing October 14. –