LOS ANGELES – Controversial TV host Willie Revillame has asked his eldest child, actress Meryll Soriano, to take charge of all his financial obligations concerning his three other children.
“Everything has to be divided equally. I want to be fair to all of them,” Willie told the Inquirer. He claimed he has prepared for the future of his children—Meryll, Louise Anne, Marimonte and Juan Emmanuel. “I cannot neglect them. They’re my flesh and blood,” he said.
Willie said he hardly gets to spend time with them, except for Meryll, who has just come back from studying in London. On special occasions like today, Father’s Day, he said he sometimes feels lonely. “I hope one day soon to spend time with all of them—maybe for one whole week. We could go sailing on my yacht, or I could take them to Macau or to the United States.”
However, he refused to discuss his relationship with his former wife, model Liz Almoro, mother of his youngest, Juan Emmanuel. “I hope people would understand why I chose to keep quiet. Liz and I are still not talking but I guess we’re OK because she allows me to visit Whammy (Juan Emmanuel’s nickname) whenever I get the chance,” he said. “I’m thankful for that. I also know naka-move on na siya. I’m happy for her.”
Willie has an interesting way of regarding his detractors. “I feel no bitterness or hatred toward them. I consider them a part of my life. Kung walang nagagalit sa akin, ’di yata normal ang buhay ko. ’Di naman kasi lahat magugustuhan ka,” he told the Inquirer shortly after his well-attended “Wil Time Bigtime” show at the Shrine Auditorium here.
Willie also mounted a show at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, where 64-year-old Maria Luna Tolentino won a brand-new house for relatives in the Philippines. Celebrity guests included TV5 stars Nora Aunor, Aga Muhlach, Derek Ramsay, Ruffa Guttierrez, and hosts Mariel Rodriguez and Camille Villar.
The event coincided with the launch of TV5’s international channels, Kapatid TV5 and Aksyon International TV. In a good mood due to the success of his US shows, Willie sat down with the Inquirer and gamely answered questions on the program, his other interests and love life.
Don’t you get turned off when people still refer to your show as “Wowowee”?
Not at all. I started all these on “Wowowee” and people abroad first saw me on TFC (ABS-CBN’s overseas channel). Malaking bagay na nakapagtanim ka na dati, pinalalago mo na lang, pinapalaki, pero dito na sa TV5. Tumatanaw naman ako ng utang na loob, lumilingon sa pinanggalingan ko.
But ABS-CBN mounted shows (near LA and San Francisco) to compete with yours.
That’s OK with me, mas maraming tao ang napasaya.
Where do you get the energy for every show?
Sa mga tao rin. I always think of the viewers. Gusto ko…hanggang sa pagtulog nila, smiling sila. It felt good that when I went down the stage to give away jackets, hindi ’yung hawak ko ang gusto ng tao kundi ang mahipo ako.
What time do you start working for the show in Manila?
I check on my staff in the morning, as early as 8 a.m. Our business unit head, Jay Montelibano, takes care of all the minor problems.
What makes you angry?
’Yung sinabi ko na, ’di pa rin ginagawa. Ayaw ko nang paulit-ulit ako.
Are you a perfectionist?
Ang gusto ko lang maayos. I don’t need people who are in this just for the money. Of course, money is a necessity, pero kailangang makita ng tao that they’re giving their best.
You’ve probably heard a lot of sob stories. Do you still get affected?
I get affected by stories that are sincere. Alam ko na kung paano kilalanin. For example, binata ka, ang laki ng katawan mo, tapos hihingi ka ng pera sa akin. Pang-inom mo? Magtrabaho ka! I’ve been in this business long enough, alam ko na kung niloloko ako.
You said you were preparing for retirement. Settling down with someone special?
I’m focused on my work. Kung may dumating, OK. ’Pag ’di ko makasundo, I’m out. It’s not my priority.
In our last chat you said you were lonely and searching.
Yes, I still feel lonely sometimes, but I’m happy. Iba ang feeling na matutulog kang fulfilled. Ilang oras lang naman ako mag-iisa. Paggising ko, andyan na ulit silang lahat. Mahirap ang may kasama sa bahay, iniisip mo some day hihiwalayan ka rin.
What’s the key to your success as a businessman?
You have to be sincere and dedicated, but the most important thing is, you have to know how to handle your people. Kahit marami kang pera pero ’di maganda ang treatment mo sa tao mo, you will not be successful. Sa paghawak ng pera, never akong naging madamot. ’Di ko hinihingan ng kapalit kung ano ang naibigay ko. Sabi ko sa Diyos, OK lang kahit mawala ang lahat ng ito any time. ’Di ko naman madadala sa libingan.
What do you fear most?
Ang mawala sa akin ang Diyos. ’Pag nawala Siya, wala na ako.