Why Jennylyn Mercado, Albert Martinez did not get MMFF nominations according to juror Butch Francisco
In his Philippine Star column, Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) juror Butch Francisco defended the MMFF’s decision not to nominate Rosario director Albert Martinez and leading lady Jennylyn Mercado, who were both touted as early favorites. "Were they deliberately snubbed by the members of the board of judges? The answer is NO. Besides, why would we do that?"
Francisco discussed the secret balloting procedure: After watching each MMFF film contender, the judges scored each one based on the criteria set by the MMFF, which includes global appeal and innovativeness. The nominees and winners were determined from the scores, Francisco said.
He also insisted that nobody leaked the list of winners. "No (juror) knew who was leading... or who was lagging behind... In fact, there were no deliberations and it has always been that way-even in the ’90s when I first sat as MMFF juror. No one, except for the chairman, who is there to break ties, knew the list of winners."
The issue of an alleged leak supposedly came from Cinemabuhay CEO and Rosario producer Ernesto "Bong" Sta. Maria Jr., who "implied that there was a leakage based on the acceptance speech of Best Actress winner Ai-Ai de las Alas," Francisco said. De las Alas was quoted as saying that ABS-CBN executive Charo Santos told her "na ako ang panalo." The actress explained to Philippine Star columnist Ricky Lo, "I was nervous... What I should have said was (that) Ma’am Charo told me in English, ’Whatever happens, whether you win or lose, in our hearts you are the winner.’"
Francisco added, "I still encourage you to watch Rosario if you haven’t yet. It’s not a bad movie. In fact, even I would want to sit through it again and savor its visual delights. Of course, the film is not perfect. Disappointing? Perhaps. But only because it was practically sold as the greatest Filipino film ever made."