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Maja Salvador and Piolo Pascual

Loyalty in show business and beyond

There is a saying among us that “there are no permanent friends or enemies, only permanent interests.” 

Many people, especially the cynics, have been applying this aphorism in politics where party switching is a common game politicians play to preserve their status quo or hold on to their coffers being kept by the ruling power or clique they could share more of the grace and privileges than simply bank on the usual budget allocation or freebies. Party vision and platforms for the common good are easily thrown out of the window because of turncoats, the disease carriers of disloyalty to the public welfare in favor of corrupt practices. 

The feudal attitude is also found even in the ordinary quotidian for how could we discredit the fact that most people side with the popular as long as their complacency isn’t compromised even if it isn’t within the framework of goodness? 

There are exemptions to the rule, though. And subscription to the belief should always be taken in context. 

One may ask: Is this maxim true as well in show business? 

In showbiz as in the daily life of Filipinos, calling each one “kaibigan” (friend) is a convenient way of expressing camaraderie or soft spot treatment but it’s more than meets the eye. It is easy to acknowledge one as a friend but it is complex and painstaking to live it. Friendship is synonymous to loyalty and faithfulness. But then, again, being loyal and faithful requires thorough introspection and gauge of not only emotional as well as spiritual strength. 

Friendship, in the long run, is tested in times of reckoning. 

There are many instances in showbiz that we refer to the friendship of this and that celebrity but when issues crop up—even personal conflicts—we suddenly are surprised they don’t see eye-to-eye. Media coverage—especially TV where exchanges of words war are thrown and displayed and has time constraints per second is precious—is fleeting so we aren’t given the comprehensive narrative we only see the half-truths. 

The division between the anti and pro in the political discussion (read: DDS and so-called “dilawan” followers) has also created discord among friends in the biz even breaking relationships of long standing when partisanship took the bond away. Biases suffice. Why can’t everyone be objective enough to analyze things historically and discern from them without emotional intercessions? 

When I was a sophomore in the entertainment writing field, I heard senior writers saying as if influencing the uninitiated “you are good as your last article or you’re as good as your last movie.” It implied that even if you are friends with your editor or a celebrity or with your producer but if you don’t write anymore or your film doesn’t sell, the relationship is gone. 

But this isn’t always the case. 

Loyalty, though, is such a tricky business. 

This brings to mind the appearance of Piolo Pascual and Maja Salvador—both Star Magic mainstays of the ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation in TV5—a competing station in the free trade. When Channel 2 franchise wasn’t renewed by Congress, stars of the network went disarray. Eventually, alternative business plans were thought of. Star Network has also to survive. 

Piolo and Maja are still being accused of disloyalty. Loyalty check was also thrust on Catriona Gray—identified as a Kapamilya—who serves as co-host of the two in the weekly variety show “Sunday Noontime Live.” 

Pascual said he’s a Kapamilya forever and Salvador opined her fellow ABS-CBN stars would understand her need for a job to subsist and to exist—the ultimate interest. Catriona on her part is perceived as an independent talent. 

Even if the faces of these three stars are seen on other screens, their allegiance is with their mother studio—the one who nurtured them. Their only interest is survival. 

The truth of the matter as well is that the program PJ (Piolo’s pet name) and Maja are involved in is a block timer and that their contract is independently postured and stipulated.

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