Entertainment editor Joey Sarmiento of tabloid Bagong Toro has filed charges of physical injuries and grave threats against Neil Arce, the producer of Robin Padilla’s upcoming Metro Manila Film Festival entry “10,000 hours”.
Arce is also the boyfriend of Robin’s relative Bela Padilla.
According to Sarmiento, the incident happened on August 24, after he had just interviewed Robin at the set of his movie.
He said he was on his way out when Arce invited him for a “talk” and he was brought to a dark part of the garden.
There they were met by JR. a cousin of Robin and a stuntman who was only identified as “Maestro”.
Sarmiento said he was surprised when Arce sat him down and began shouting at him, telling him that he had some unfinished business with his girlfriend Bela about an article he had written three years ago.
“Hindi pa daw pala kami ayos ni Bela at hindi ko daw dapat sinusulat ng hindi maganda si Bela” Sarmiento said in a press conference held yesterday at the National Press Club in Manila.
Sarmiento said the two JR and Maestro held him while he was repeatedly punched and slapped by Arce.
This went on for about 30 minutes before Arce let him go. Arce then told him not to write about the incident. “Kapag isinulat mo itong pangyayaring ito, tatawa lang ako at ipapahanap kita at ipapabugbog kita,” he reportedly warned.
“Pasalamat ka dahil mabait pa ako dahil kung may topak ako, baka mapatay pa kita sa loob ng pamamahay ko,” Arce added before slapping him again.
The article Arce was fuming about, Sarmiento said, was about the time that Bela (who was still known by her real name Krista Sullivan) joined a model search and lost.
Sarmiento, who was the chairman of the judging panel, was apparently blamed for the loss and he wrote about the incident in his columns for tabloids Taliba and Pinoy Parazzi.
Robin’s wife, TV host Mariel Rodriguez, later apologized and said Robin didn’t know about the mauling incident.
Arce is a professional poker player and producer of the recent indie film “Coming Soon.”