|CELEBRITIES running in 2016 include Rep. Manny Pacquiao, Rep. Lucy Torres and husband Richard Gomez and Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista who is gunning for his third and final term.
By JO ERLINDA G. NEBRES
It is again a star-studded elections on May 9, 2016.
This as former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, world boxing icon and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao, Sen. Vicente Tito Sotto, Quezon City Congressman Alfred Vargas, Leyte Congresswoman Luci Torres-Gomez, Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto, former Pampanga governor Mark Lapid and former Laguna Governor ER Ejercito lead the show business personalities and celebrities who are vying for various posts.
As the filing of certificates of candidacies closed on October 16, many celebrities who were widely expected to run like presidential sister and television host and actress Kris Aquino, television host Eugenio “Boy” Abunda. Christopher de Leon, a former provincial board member of Batangas, and comedianne Ai Ai delas Alas failed to file their CoCs.
Pacquiao, who is in the running for a Senate seat, vowed to devote his time to his Senate work in case he is elected after his last fight early next year.
Paranaque Councilor Alma Moreno, whose real name is Vanessa Lacsamana is also running for senator under the party of Vice President Jejomar Binay. Moreno is currently the chairperson of the Philippine Councilors League whose support she is banking on.
Re-electionist Tito Sotto currently tops the surveys among senatoriables. The senator, an actor and singer, is a co-host of the long-running noontime show on GMA Network, “Eat Bulaga,” with his brother Vic Sotto.
Sotto attributed his frontrunner status in part to the show’s phenomenal AlDub love team of Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza a.k.a. Yaya Dub. He was accompanied by his wife, actress Helen Gamboa, when he filed his COC.
And so, too, is actor and former Makati City Vice Mayor Eduardo “Edu” Manzano, who is running for senator. Manzano ran for vice president in the 2010 elections but lost.
Radio and television personality Rey Langit is also running again for senator after his unsuccessful bid in the 2010 elections. Langit is with the UNA ticket of Binay.
Meanwhile, Senator Mary Grace Poe Llamanzares, adopted daughter of veteran actress Susan Roces and the late Movie King and presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr. and a former chairman of the Movie, Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB), is pursuing his late father’s dream to become president of the country.
In Manila, the country’s capital, aside from Mayor Estrada, is running for reelection and possible substitute candidate for president in case Vice President Jejomar Binay or Senator Poe are disqualified. His vice mayor, Francisco Domagoso, more popularly known as Isko Moreno, the actor who was discovered by German Moreno, has filed his COC for senator, dropping his mayoralty or vice mayoralty bid.
Other actors running in Manila are former Councilor Lou Veloso of the sixth district, incumbent Councilor Robert Ortega of the fifth district who is running for reelection and Councilor Yul Servo Nieto of the fourth district who is reportedly running for congressman.
In Quezon City, the wealthiest city in the Philippines with P15 billion in annual revenues, actor-comedian Herbert Bautista shelved his senatorial ambitions and instead opted to run for reelection for this third and final three-year term.
Known as the City of Stars, Quezon City also has Councilors Roderick Paulate, Gian Carlo Sotto, Diorella Maria “Lala” Sotto, Precious Hipolito Castelo, a FAMAS best child actress in 1988; Franz Pumaren, former basketball player and coach; and Andres Jose “Anjo” Yllana, Jr. who are all gunning for reelection.
Actor-singer Anthony Castello, who became famous for his songs “Balatkayo” and “Nang Dahil sa Pag-ibig,” is making a comeback as a councilor of the third district of Quezon City.
Castelo said he is going back to politics to introduce reforms on crime prevention for the youth and disadvantaged or vulnerable sectors of society.
“I want these sectors to have awareness and preparations for crime prevention, especially the women, so that they can be empowered in times that they are at risk with criminal elements,” he added.
In Paranaque City where actor Joey Marquez once served as mayor for many years, showbiz personalities in the City Council who are seeking reelection are Councilors Brillante Bok Inciong, a former singer; Hubert Webb, son of former Sen. Freddie Webb, who is seeking to replace his brother Councilr Jason Webb, a former basketball player, as councilor; Roselle Nava, a former actress and singer; Viktor Sotto of the Sotto clan, and John Ryan Yllana. Valdoph Quizon is running also for councilor in place of her mother Councilor Alma Moreno who is running for senator.
In Makati City which was once served by Mayor Nemesio I. Yabut, a former actor and movie producer, has reelectionist Councilor Monsour del Rosario. Singer-actor Rico J. Puno, whose real name is Enrico Puno, once served as councilor and later ran for vice mayor but was unsuccessful. Puno is now seeking a comeback as councilor.
In Muntinlupa City, actor Ronnie Rickets, who served as chairman of the Optical Media Board, is running for congressman under the UNA ticket.
In San Juan City, actor and singer Lance Raymundo is running as councilor, along with former comedian Inday Garutay. San Juan’s mayor, Guia Gomez, is a former actress and partner of Mayor Joseph Estrada. Other celebrities running for councilor, vice mayor or congresswoman in San Juan are related to Mayor Estrada and his son, Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada. Ericka Villongco is running for councilor in San Juan.
Senator Estrada’s daughter Janella is the vice mayoralty candidate of Mayor Guia Gomez while his cousin, Jana Ejercito, is running for congresswoman against reelectionist Rep. Ronaldo Zamora.
Pasay City has produced then popular broadcaster and television host Eddie Ilarde as Senator and basketball player Freddie Webb also as senator and many residents want actress Sharon Cuneta, daughter of long-time Mayor Pablo Cuneta, to run for mayor but has demurred.
Other cities in Metro Manila with reelectionist officials who are in show business are Pasig, Pateros, San Juan and Valenzuela City with Councilor Charee Pineda. Valenzuela had television personality Shalani Soledad as councilor but ran and lost for congressman in the last elections. Actress Charee Pineda, a Filipino American whose real name is Crissha Charee Morrison Pineda, is running for reelection as councilor in the city.
In Pateros, actress Daisy Reyes is running for reelection as councilor.
Governor Vilma Santos is running for congresswoman in the newly created lone district of Lipa City.
Other stars and celebrities running for reelection or for higher office are Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado-Revilla, Laguna Rep. Sol Aragones, a former broadcaster; and Laguna board member Angelica Jones who is running for vice governor; suspended Laguna Governor ER Ejercito who is seeking to get back to his post; Oriental Mindoro board member Lito Camo, a singer and composer; Puerto Princesa Councilor Matthew Mendoza, Pampanga Board Member Maynard Lapid, Bulacan Vice Governor Daniel Fernando and Board Member Aex Castro, Quezon Board Member Gary Estrada, Councilor Marbelyn dela Cruz of Dagupan City, Maricel Morales of Angeles City, Batangas Vice Governor Mark Leviste and San Juan City Mayor Guia Gomez, a former actress.
The former Viva Hot Babes member Andrea del Rosario is running for vice mayor in the resort town of Calatagan, Batangas.
In Ormoc City, actor Richard Gomez is running again for mayor under the Liberal Party. His wife, actress Luci Torres, is seeking another term as congresswoman in the district.
In Angeles City, outgoing Senator Manuel Lapid is running for mayor against incumbent Mayor Eduard Pamintuan.
In Tacloban City, former actress Cristina “Kring Kring” Gonzales Romualdez, an incumbent city councilor, is running for mayor.
In Nueva Ecija, actor Rommel Padilla, father of matinee idol Daniel Padilla, returned to local politics when he filed his COC for a seat in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan representing the first district, a post he held from 2007 to 2010 under the Bagong Lakas ng Nueva Ecija (Balane).
Padilla ran and lost to Jose Gay Padiernos in the vice gubernatorial race in 2010.
While being an actor or a celebrity is a plus factor in elections, many showbiz personalities have actually failed in their recent bids like Aga Muhlach (congressman), Cesar Montano (senator and governor), Ara Mina (councillor), Rey Malonzo (mayor), Ricky Davao, Ma. Isabel Lopez, Aiko Melendez, Arnel Ignacio and a host of other personalities.
Many showbiz personalities who are not running for any position are endorsers of politicians and many like singer-actress Sarah Geronimo succeeded.
One stage personality who first stood out among those successful in politics. He is former zarzuela actor Diosdado Macapagal who rose to become bar topnotcher, congressman of Pampanga, diplomat, Vice President and later President of the Philippines. Macapagal became president over the ambition of his brother-in-law actor Rogelio dela Rosa also of Lubao, Pampanga who had to give way despite his popularity at that time. De La Rosa served as senator and later Philippine Ambassador.