From the time matinee idol Rogelio dela Rosa was elected to the Philippine Senate in 1957, the once definite line separating politics from show business began to blur. For albeit slowly in the decades that followed, dela Rosa’s successful transition seemed to have triggered a realization among other actors that their popularity can go well beyond the silver screen.
Of course, the best proof of this phenomenon is action star Joseph Ejercito Estrada’s rise to the highest seat in the land, notwithstanding his short-lived presidency.
And with celebrities assuming posts from barangay captain to councilor, mayor, governor, congressman, senator and everything in between, the message is clear: Star power effectively lands the Filipinos’ votes.
Where then does this glittering asset leave traditional politicians in the race to elected positions in government? Certainly they will not be beaten. For if they are not celebrities themselves, they can easily get the star power they need with endorsements from the most famous names in the entertainment industry.
For the 2016 presidential elections, however, celebrity endorsements may be hard to come by, what with the only daughter of the King and Queen of Philippine Movies finally joining the race.
As proven by the turn out of showbiz bigwigs at Sen. Grace Poe’s announcement at the UP Bahay ng Alumni on Wednesday, friendships forged by the late Fernando Poe Jr. and his wife Susan Roces reaped much love and loyalty.
Spotted at the Bahay ng Alumni were: veteran actress Boots Anson Roa, actors Zoren Legaspi and wife Carmina Villaroel, Tirso Cruz 3rd, Albert Martinez and Lorna Tolentino.
Contrary to a report of a broadsheet (not The Manila Times) on Wednesday, actor and National Youth Commission (NYC) Commissioner Dingdong Dantes did not attend Poe’s “important announcement.
Reaching Dantes through his talent management group PPL Entertainment Inc., this paper learned sometime around noon of Wednesday that the actor would be busy throughout the day with commitments for the NYC.
Dantes, who was reported to lead a star-studded guest list at Poe’s announcement along with wife Marian Rivera, issued the following statement via text:
“I confirm though that I received an invitation yesterday [Tuesday] to attend the UP event today. However, due to my current duties as an appointed official of the National Youth Commission, I have several official youth engagements today that are related to our ongoing Climate Change advocacy programs, which I am spearheading.
“Senator Grace Poe is a friend, and I wish that she be guided by our Almighty God in her journey today.”
Dantes’ inclusion in Poe’s list of invitees draws much attention since he has been a prominent supporter of President Benigno Aquino 3rd from the start of his candidacy in 2010 and throughout his ongoing tenure in Malacañang.
Following his appointment to head the NYC in 2014 by the President, rumors that Dantes would be running for the Senate in 2016 have persisted until today. But over the past weeks, the actor has categorically stated he will not run for any post in government come May 2016, and that his utmost priority is to fulfill his showbiz commitments in order to free up his time for the arrival of his child, a daughter, due in November.
“Hindi po, I respectfully reiterate that I am not running for any post this 2016,” he had said.
When asked through his handlers to confirm whether he is supporting Sen. Poe’s presidential bid, The Manila Times was told they cannot speak for Dantes who by then was already unreachable at his meeting.
A source close to Dantes, meanwhile’ told this paper that even if asked, they doubt he will have a definite answer with several months to go before the official campaign season begins.
All the same, the camps of Vice President Jejomar Binay and former Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd, who had declared their candidacy way ahead of Poe, maintain that the magic of showbiz will still play a part in their respective campaigns.
This, despite the fact that the United Nationalist Alliance and Liberal Party standard-bearers were unable to furnish The Manila Times with an initial list of celebrity endorsers in time for deadline.
In a phone conversation with this paper mid-afternoon Wednesday, Binay’s media affairs chief Joselito “Joey” Salgado replied, “Meron [There are],” to a question on whether the Vice President already has celebrities supporting his candidacy. He quickly added, however, that he will have to secure an official list from headquarters for confirmation, but he was no longer available with the information via phone and text in time for deadline.
Sen. Nancy Binay’s media affairs chief, Samuel Porcalla, meanwhile, answered, “Wala kaming artista [We don’t have actors]” to the same question.
Nevertheless, according to a reliable showbiz source of The Manila Times, there are indeed some big-name celebrities rooting for Binay, but with the Vice President’s ongoing corruption charges, they have chosen to come out at a later time to pledge support to avoid possible controversies.
While no official statement was given by the Roxas camp regarding celebrities who have pledged their support, they readily point to a song released by R&B artists Billy Crawford, Jay R and Kris Lawrence to help boost the former Interior secretary’s presidential bid.
Crawford had previously posted on his Instagram account: “Had dinner with Sec. Mar Roxas, along with my soul brothers @rnbjayr and @imkrislawrence. We got so inspired by his passion and his drive, that we even joined forces to write a song called ‘Fast Forward.’
“It’s all about how true, effective leadership can pave the way to a brighter future as long as we allow ourselves to be a part of a better tomorrow. It all starts with a vision, and the entire country sharing the same vision.”