Diether’s loss, Jay’s gain

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RONNIE CARRASCO 3RD

RONNIE CARRASCO 3RD

IS Diether Ocampo’s loss Jay Manalo’s gain?

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Regular viewers of Viva Entertainment’s Bakit Manipis ang Ulap? could only mourn the “death” of George Bustamante (Ocampo) when he’s supposed to shift to a paternal role after getting his ex-girlfriend Marla (Claudine Barretto) pregnant.

Earlier in a blind item, Diether was positively named as the actor who’d soon be booted out of the TV5 teledrama due to the stress brought upon its director Joel Lamangan. An insider was even quoted to have said, “Baka ma-stroke lang uli si Direk Joel kung hindi ‘papatayin’ si Diether sa kuwento.”

Bakit Manipis ang Ulap? (BMAU) —a TV adaptation of the classic Danny Zialcita film in 1995—beckoned Ocampo’s return to TV. It also reunited the actor with Claudine Barretto who was also staging a comeback.

Many couldn’t help but speculate about Ocampo’s problem: coming from a breakup with his girlfriend, was the actor not yet ready to seriously focus on his career?

Diether Ocampo

Diether Ocampo

The BMAU production, however, remains tight-lipped saying, “We’d rather compromise a member of the cast, major even if he is, than allow any hassle get in the way of our work.”

With Ocampo’s character totally out of the story, enter Alberto Villafuerte, a rough-mannered, highly ambitious ex-convict played by Jay Manalo.

Still oozing with machismo in his early 40s, Manalo proves to be equally refreshing as his predecessor. And another plus factor: Manalo has no record of being a director’s “sakit ng ulo.”

* * *

LITTLE does the public know that Sylvia Sanchez has twice been wooed to run for mayor by her kababayans in her native town in Agusan del Norte.

Born in Butuan City, the actress par excellence, Josette Campo in real life, grew up in Nasipit, a third class municipality in the Mindanao province.

Busy gathering her family members moments before the recent advanced screening of her daily series My Super D began at the Dolphy Theatre, Sanchez obliged to my interview about whatever happened to her mayoral bid. I remember that I was one of the privileged few to whom she intimated her plan many years ago at TJ’s Resto Bar on Sct. Esguerra St. in Quezon City, which she and husband Art Atayde owned.

“Hindi ko na itinuloy,” Sanchez said, “Bale dalawang terms na ako nililigawan ng tumakbong mayor doon—2010 and 2013. Ngayong eleksiyon, sinabi ko talaga na ayoko.”

Google provides a brief profile about her place of origin. With the largest port in the entire province, Nasipit is made up of 19 barangays, seven urban; 12 rural. With more than 40,000 in population, isn’t Sanchez confident she’s going to get a large chunk of the electorate?

Humbly assessing her chances as the next local chief executive, Sanchez reasoned out: “Sa totoo lang, nag-e-enjoy pa ako sa career ko bilang artista. Saka taun-taon naman umuuwi kami ni Arjo (her actor-son) sa Nasipit para mamigay ng bigas, de lata at iba pang pagkain.”

Her next statement though mirrored an unfortunate political reality. “Pero ang pinaka-dahilan ko kung bakit nagbago ang isip ko, simple lang, ayokong matutong magnakaw! Hindi sa nilalahat ko ang mga pulitiko pero nababalitaan naman natin na nakasuhan si ganyan, si ganito dahil sa graft and corruption. Kasi, baka pag ako na ang umupong mayor ng bayan ko, ma-tempt lang ako.”

Sanchez, however, is not totally closing her doors on politics. “Malay natin sa susunod na local elections? We can never tell kung saan tayo dadalhin ng destiny. Pero sa ngayon, huwag na muna,” she finally mused.

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