Conflict of interest and grave abuse of power may lead to MMFF’s downfall, says ‘Norte’ producer Moira Raymond Lee on a Facebook post on Thursday.
Moira was present at the House of Representatives hearing over the conflict of interest issues raised against the decision to disqualify ‘Honor Thy Father’ from the festival’s 2015 Best Picture category.
During the hearings, Lawmakers discovered several irregularities in the controversial decision made by the MFFF.
According to Lee, this resulted in “consequent, unanimous, and urgent recommendations” made by the solons present in the hearing, including a move to abolish the MMFF in favor of a “new, improved, law-abiding festival for the Filipino people”.
“Everyone attending the hearing and the room erupted in applause,” recounts Lee.
Yesterday something momentous happened in the Congressional hearing on the MMFF. Beyond and more important than the issues raised about MMFF 2015, shocking discoveries were made about the MMFF organization and consequent, unanimous, and urgent recommendations and resolutions were made by the solons who attended the hearing. To wit:
1. The MMFF believes itself to be a private entity exempt from audit by government or any institution or body for that matter. Under such conviction of immunity, it has: a) committed acts constituting conflict of interest and grave abuse of power; b) operated–such as in selecting the annual festival entries, tabulating the MMFF Awards jury members’ scores, and coordinating with theater operators and bookers in deciding the fates of the entries’ life in the cinemas–with little or no regard for transparency or fair play; and c) conducted its financial dealings in a questionable, irresponsible, and less than scrupulous manner.
2. Upon ascertaining the above, the Congressional Committee that presided over the hearing unanimously passed the motion to create a technical working group that will study, revise, overhaul, and reconstitute the existing organization and by-laws of the MMFF. In other words, there is now a move in the House of Representatives to ABOLISH THE MMFF IN ITS PRESENT STATE AND GIVE BIRTH TO A NEW, IMPROVED, LAW-ABIDING FESTIVAL FOR THE FILIPINO PEOPLE.
The implications of the proceedings dawned on everyone attending the hearing and the room erupted in applause despite the sergeant-at-arms’ repeated warnings to everyone not to engage in any disruptive display of emotion.
None of this has made it to print (broadsheet dailies) or TV news yet. Maybe the mainstream media deem it inconsequential, a little too showbiz perhaps. Or the enemies of Philippine Cinema are more shrewd and powerful than we think. Or no one really cares outside the movie industry. Or maybe, hopefully, it’s just a case of delayed reaction that will be rectified in the coming days. Whatever the reason, I am sharing this as a record of what happened yesterday and in the hope that some of you will share it with your friends.