Veteran cameraman Isagani Sioson, the president of the Filipino Society of Cinematographers, lashed at the sweeping statement made by Optical Media Board Chairman Edu Manzano that cinematographer-members of the Film Academy of the Philippines are involved in the piracy of local films. This was printed in the January 14 issue of Bulgar.
Chairman Manzano was interviewed by Bulgar movie columnist Ador V. Saluta during a break in the taping of Pilipinas, Game Ka na Ba? and Saluta quoted the OMB head as having declared that:
“Mga cinematographers ng pelikulang Pilipino, sila-sila rin. Sila ang pumapatay sa sariling industriya, mga members ng Film Academy.”
Manzano was talking about the OMB’s efforts to minimize the piracy of film entries in last year’s Metro Manila film festival. In the same interview, Manzano was quoted as saying: “Nahuli namin mismo yung mga taong kumukuha (with videos) sa loob ng sinehan. Nasa custody na namin yung mga culprits at mga master copies.”
The initial reaction of FSC President Sioson was one of disbelief. He said he tried getting in touch with the OMB chairman to get the identity of the cinematographer or cinematographers he was referring to. He also sent an e-mail message to columnist Saluta but both did not reply.
FAP Director General Leo G. Martinez later informed Sioson that he was able to talk with Chairman Manzano in simultaneous phone-patch interviews through a radio program of Jimmy Morato.over station dWIZ.
Manzano categorically denied he mentioned that Director General Martinez and FAP as involved in film piracy during his interview with columnist Saluta. He also provided the identity of the cinematographer mentioned in Saluta’s column. He was identified as Christopher Golez, a card-carrying cinematographer.
Sioson said he checked the FSC roster and confirmed that he is not and was never a member of the Filipino Society of Cinematographers.
Atty. Espiridion Laxa, chairman of the Film Academy, said that the OMB chairman’s accusation against FAP and its member cinematographers constitute libel if it will not be proven true.
Both Laxa and Martinez assured that if the people involved in Manzano’s accusations are proven to be really academy members, the FAP will cooperate one hundred percent in prosecuting them.