Timeline on the issue about Al-Reggie Dimalanas of Maguindanao and his handler Mobi
September 7, 2017:
During the talent competition of Gentlemen of the Philippines 2017 at SM Cherry Antipolo, more than twenty of the candidates performed their respective talents to be judged for the fast-track segment that will automatically give the top placer a spot in the semifinals. Three (3) of them were considered shoo-ins because of topnotch vocal quality – Jamil Permigones of Alabat (who was eventually named Best in Talent during the finals), Keny Ong of Ilocos Sur and Karlo Babiera of Dumaguete City. There was a tie for 3rd place, though, and Aaron Sangcap of Concepcion was also named a finalist who will perform 90-second live numbers each during finals night.
Mobi (or Bansai Saba-Samurai on FB) – who is the handler of Al-Reggie Dimalanas of Maguindanao – complained about the presence of one judge who is perceived to be the handler of Aaron Sangcap (who also happens to represent one of the Sponsors, David’s Salon). That was a lapse in judgment on the part of GCI’s Marketing Head Herald Domine who chose the individuals who will form part of the panel.
But in fairness to Aaron Sangcap, he delivered high on stage presence and audience impact. His singing voice may be no match to the aforementioned trio, but he was the most well-received by the audience.
Mobi messaged me about the whole thing. He was really hoping that his ward – Al-Reggie Dimalanas – would secure a talent finalist spot to be considered as possible fast-track winner. And the inclusion of the perceived handler of Aaron Sangcap angered him. The thing is, even if the scores were to be reviewed once more, there were at least three (3) more dance performances that earned higher scores in the final tally.
Thereafter, our constant exchange on Messenger led him to pull Reggie out of the competition. I asked him to reconsider. He wanted an assurance of fairness in judging. I promised him that I will scrutinize everything, and will do everything in my powers to get his ward a semifinal spot (but eventually outpowered by the Back to Zero decision in the finals) where the advocacy speech round will take place. I never guaranteed a title or anything far up the ladder of placement. He was still unconvinced. Below is the part of the chat that may not have been included in the maliciously posted screenshots of the PRIVATE conversation between Mobi and I:
Mobi: “Gusto ko lang assurance tito norman.. I will reconsider my decision but Lemme know give me 1 slot. And tell me what or how much (reasonable sponsorship) para masabi ko rin naging fair ang org sa Maguindanao. Tito norman don’t get me wrong pero thats my statement.”
Me: “Mobi, what do you mean how much? Nalilito ako sa part na yon because I have never been part of any negotiations na ganoon ☹️ My assurance kasi has no corresponding amount or anything”
I no longer replied after that.
September 8, 2017:
Rehearsal for the Finals was in full swing at the KF Camp and everyone (production team and candidates) in the group already found out that Reggie was pulled out of the competition. Another candidate – Mark Sy of Tarlac City – backed out due to personal concerns in his home town that we could no longer do anything about. So it was clear that we are down to 29 candidates.
The rehearsals lasted till late. Thereafter, I invited some of the candidates to grab a quick meal at nearby McDonald’s. At right about the same time that we were ordering, Reggie and his handler Mobi also arrived in the branch to buy food. I wasn’t in the mood for long discussions due to sheer tiredness.
Mobi simply stated that he was still firm in his decision not to allow Reggie to return. I answered him that the competition is back to zero (as earlier agreed upon by everyone during the rehearsals) to be fair. He neither reacted nor responded to that new development.
September 9, 2017:
7:30am Reggie Dimalanas spoke to me over the phone crying that he wanted so much to continue with the competition.
At that time, Mobi was no longer around and instructed his ward to talk to his elders. Reggie was staying with his parents and sister who flew in from Mindanao – and who did not have any knowledge about the pull-out and all. He was at a loss on what to do.
At that point, I never wanted to meddle with any decision to compete or not to compete anymore. But Reggie was still inconsolable. I asked him then to just open up the concern to his parents, and that whatever their decision is about rejoining or not should be the next step to take.
After an hour or so, Reggie messaged me that he already talked to his mother and sister who advised him to rejoin the competition. He attended the final and technical rehearsals afterwards.
Now Mobi posted another status on FB saying that I spoke to his parents about getting back in the competition. I never intruded in any way. Reggie opened up to his mother/sister and returned to the competition on his own volition. It was a risk Reggie wanted to take and I respected that.
End of story