Press Release
September 3, 2007

Honasan backs Senate probe on 'Hello Pappy!' episode

Sen. Gregorio Honasan has "totally endorsed" the planned Senate inquiry on the "Wowoweee" TV game show scandal, citing the need to protect consumers against all forms of possible fraud, whether onscreen or offscreen.

"We are definitely endorsing the Senate investigation. This is all about fairness, and ensuring the probity of all popular contests, whether onscreen or offscreen, in order to safeguard consumers," Honasan said.

"The 'products' in question here are all game shows. The 'consumers' we are trying to protect here are all TV viewers, not just the game contestants, " the senator stressed.

"We consider this a grave matter, not a trivial affair. In fact, lives have been lost as a consequence of the frenzy created by one of these shows," said Honasan, chairman of the Senate committee on public order, safety and illegal drugs.

Honasan was referring to the Feb. 4, 2006 stampede at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City. The mad rush of aspiring game show contestants and fans killed 71 people and injured more than 200.

Sen. Mar Roxas earlier vowed to file a resolution that would enable the investigation of the supposed manipulation of the P2- million "Wilyonaryo" game segment of the "Wowoweee" noontime show of ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp.

"We cannot just allow this controversy to blow over. We have to ascertain whether existing laws are sufficient to protect consumers, with respect to ensuring the integrity of all game shows," Honasan said.

Honasan said existing trade laws protect consumers against potential cheating in all forms of promotional contests.

"This is why regulators, in this case officials of the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry), are supposed to supervise all contests, from simple raffles to game shows," Honasan pointed out.

Like Roxas, Honasan said he too was at a loss as to where the DTI representative was during the supposed incident, and what that representative, if then present, has to say about what actually transpired.

The impending Senate probe rekindles memories of the Oscar-nominated movie, "Quiz Show," that tells the true story behind the 1959 TV scandal that prompted a US congressional investigation into the popular game program, TWENTY-ONE.

Directed by Robert Redford, the 1994 acclaimed film was based on the real-life story of Herbert Stempel (played by actor John Turturro), a disgruntled former champion of TWENTY-ONE.

Stempel claimed that producers had routinely leaked answers to the new winner, Charles van Doren (played by Ralph Fiennes), a professor who achieved celebrity status after he became the quiz show's longest-reigning champion.

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