E.R. Ejercito slams delayed release of ‘Asiong’ prints

Laguna governor E.R. Ejercito is crying foul.  He says that his Metro Manila Filmfest entry, “Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story” was shown in only 17 theaters instead of 51 cinema houses when it opened nationwide last Christmas Day. 

“Nasabotahe kami,” he told Yahoo! Philippines OMG! in a phone interview on Dec. 26.

“SQ Laboratories, owned by Angelo Santos, signed a laboratory certificate stating that the prints will be done by Dec. 23.  This certificate was submitted to the Metro Manila Film Festival committee. But the complete prints were submitted in the afternoon of Dec. 25. Ngayon he’s saying that there was a miscalculation,” E.R. continues.

The star of “Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story” star remains unconvinced, however.

“Napakababaw ‘nun.  Hindi niya na-justify ng maayos kung bakit hindi natapos ang prints.  Now he’s saying na inuna nya yung sa malalaking productions,” E.R. points out.

The Laguna governor adds that the prints of the film were submitted way ahead of the other MMFF entries, so he doesn’t understand why the complete number of prints were not released on time.

Despite this, E.R. cites reports reaching him that the film about notorious gang leader Nicasio ‘Asiong’ Salonga” is earning well in the 17 theaters where it is currently showing.

“It grossed P3-M in 17 theaters.  We could have earned P20-M on the first day kung kumpleto ang prints.  Kung patas ang laban,” he reveals.

Contacted for comments, Maylyn Enriquez, supervising producer of Scenema Concept International, producer of the film, issued the following statement: 

“We contracted SQ Laboratories to be the supplier for the prints. We both agreed to have the prints ready by December 23 in time for logistics of the materials for the December 25, 2011, which is the first day of MMFF screening. However, due to their load with other 4 more festival entries, we were the least priority and last to be printed. To my dismay, the laboratory misinformed us about the completion of the prints, and the last minute transfer of laboratory was necessary to produce as many prints as possible. Unfortunately, despite the delivery of the prints to the theaters, the cinemas have already replaced our theater with another movie. This is already beyond our control.”

Meanwhile, when contacted on the phone, SQ Laboratories Business Development Manager Dennis Silvestre told Yahoo! Philippines OMG! that Santos was out of town with his family.