MANILA — Ely Buendia is urging action from the companies behind the online talent competition The Pop Stage, amid allegations of plagiarism involving its recently named champion.
Buendia appealed to the group to “make this right” on Wednesday, a day after winner CJ Villavicencio apologized in the face of accusations of “ripping off” arrangements from the musical “Ang Huling El Bimbo” (AHEB).
The popular stage production, which ran in 2018 and 2019, features songs from Eraserheads, the iconic rock band fronted by Buendia, with fresh musical arrangements by Myke Salomon.
Salomon publicly called out the winning performance of The Pop Stage for “copying” the musical treatment and concept of “Ang Huling El Bimbo” early this week, prompting the apology from Villavicencio.
In his latest statement on Wednesday, Buendia wrote: “I am appealing to the people, companies and corporations involved in the AHEB plagiarism issue. You alone have the power to make this right.”
The Pop Stage was produced by Viva Entertainment and Popeyes Philippines. Its grand prize includes P1 million and a contract with Viva Artists Agency.
Without mentioning Villavicencio, Buendia said, “You have the power to teach a young man and all the young people out there about to join the world, our children, a most valuable lesson that can have no other effect except make them good and become better.”
“You have the power to stand up for and give back to the art which has been a source of life for all of us. You have the power to set an example and for once do the right thing, and become a beacon of hope in these dark times ruled by greed, hate and lies.”
As of writing, The Pop Stage has yet to issue a statement addressing Villavicencio’s case.
“Yes there are even more pressing matters out there, but in the end this will not just be about a song, a contract, a million pesos, or credit,” Buendia said.
“Your actions will set a precedent and have repercussions in the years to come. On which side of history do you want to be on? Search your hearts for the truth and it will set you free.”