Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, and Joey De Leon expressed their joy over the IPO's move to cancel TAPE Inc.'s registration for the Eat Bulaga! trademark as they asked for "respect" from the production company moving forward.
The trio shared their reactions to the ruling in a press conference on Wednesday, Dec. 6 along with their legal counsel, Atty. Enrique Dela Cruz, who noted that the noontime show's original hosts has been allowed to use the name Eat Bulaga! even before the decision of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines came out. TVJ, however, just decided to give way since they didn't want to create further conflict.
“Ang opinyon po talaga ng Divina Law, pwede nang gamitin [‘yung Eat Bulaga!] kahit noon pa even before the decision came out dahil nga ‘yung rehistro nila ay ‘di for entertainment, ang rehistro nila ay for merchandise,” he explained.
“Pero sila ang pumili eh. Si TVJ ang nagparaya at sinabi na ‘Ayaw namin ng gulo, sundan natin ‘yung proseso.’ Ni-respeto nila,” he recalled, emphasizing that it’s TAPE Inc.'s turn to return the favor.
While TVJ said they can use the name whenever they like, they are still yet to determine when they will change it from their TV5 show E.A.T. Vic highlighted that the decision will also depend on TAPE Inc.
“Siguro, 'pag tumigil na ‘yung gumagamit na iba at nagpakita ng respeto, ‘yun na siguro ang tamang panahon,” he said.
The hosts acknowledged that TAPE Inc. has the right to appeal the IPO's ruling, but reiterated their hope for respect, especially since they worked together for over four decades.
“We know that we’re standing on the right side of defense eh,” Tito said. “Anybody has right to appeal, okay lang, walang problema ‘yun sa amin.”
Dela Cruz, for his part, said: “The important word is 'respeto.' 'Pag naglabas ng desisyon ‘yung korte, ‘yung natalo, pwedeng mag-apila. In the meantime, gagalangin mo ba ‘yung desisyon o hindi?”
“Ang aming pakiusap, sana respetuhin,” he continued.
Dela Cruz added that they expect TAPE Inc. to submit a motion for reconsideration within 10 days, which the Bureau of Legal Affairs will review within 30 days. In case they are not satisfied with the decision, they can bring it to the Court of Appeals up to the Supreme Court.
TVJ's copyright infringement case against TAPE Inc. and GMA Network is still pending at the Marikina Regional Trial Court. According to Dela Cruz, the decision will determine whether TAPE Inc.’s use of the noontime show, including its segments and theme song, is a violation of the rights of its original creators.
Current Eat Bulaga! hosts stand by TAPE Inc.
The GMA show's current hosts Paolo Contis, Mavy Legaspi, Cassy Legaspi, Betong Sumaya, Alexa Miro, Winwyn Marquez, Chariz Solomon, Dasuri Choi, and Kimpoy Feliciano gathered onstage in the Dec. 6 episode of Eat Bulaga!, with Contis noting that the IPO's decision is yet to be finalized.
“Mga Kapuso, mahaba pa po ang laban. Ibig sabihin, legally wala pang final,” he began in their opening spiel.
“Pero ito lang po ang pangako namin: Anumang mangyari, ang nasimulan po naming tulong at saya ay itutuloy lang po namin araw-araw dahil ‘yun naman po ang dahilan kung bakit kami pumapasok araw-araw,” he continued. “Kayo po ang dahilan kung bakit nandito kami.”
Marquez added, “Kaya tuloy ang Pasko na pinakamasaya.”
“Dito lang 'yan sa tahanang pinakamasaya!” the other EB hosts said, adding, “Ito ang Eat Bulaga!”
TVJ has an ongoing rift with TAPE Inc. They announced they have parted ways with the EB producers last May 31 after rumors about an Eat Bulaga! rebranding—and the trio getting fired—broke out amid financial losses. After the announcement, staff members, including hosts, writers, sales, production, and cameramen, tendered their resignation.