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In the Philippines where politicians turn to acting and actors become politicians, Dolphy knew where to draw the line.
In his authorized biography entitled “Hindi Ko Ito Narating Mag-Isa,” the iconic actor-comedian said he got an offer from no less than incumbent Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile to run for a Senate seat in the late 1980s. He added that he was also once asked to run in the Manila mayoralty race.
Dolphy, however, turned down both offers in an instant. In one of his interviews with showbiz columnist Ricky Lo, the comedian summed up his reason for not entering politics: “Madaling tumakbo, e paano kung manalo?”
In a separate interview with GMA News’ Jessica Soho, the country’s “King of Comedy” said he feared being remiss in his duties if ever he entered politics.
“Doon nga ako natatakot, kasi baka manalo ako. Kung talagang papasok ako riyan, talagang magsisilbi ka sa bayan. Kung mapapabayaan ko, huwag na,” he said.
In the end, Dolphy stayed true to his word. He died of multiple organ failure Tuesday night, ending one of the longest and most colorful careers in Philippine show business.
Despite shunning politics, Dolphy said in his biography he has “political sense” and makes it a point to monitor political developments in the country and abroad through newspapers and cable TV.
The veteran actor said he consciously picks whom to endorse during elections. For instance, in the 1998 presidential polls, he campaigned for the eventual winner and actor-turned-politician Joseph Estrada – his “favorite actor.”
Dolphy also defended Estrada from people who judged the former President’s skills in leading the country.
“Ang artista, komo na nga artista at halos buong buhay nakabilad, hindi nagtatago ‘yan ng skeletons in the closet. Si Erap, alam na maraming asawa, nanalo pa rin. Ang mga malilinis daw, anu-ano ba talaga ang sikreto ng mga iyan?” the veteran comedian said in his biography.
During the controversial 2004 national elections, Dolphy endorsed the presidential bid of his close friend – another actor-turned-politician – Fernando Poe Jr. He said he only joined sorties in areas perceived to be Poe’s “weak spots,” such as the Bicol region and Cebu.
Poe eventually lost to then-incumbent-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Still, Dolphy said he believed his friend won the elections.
“Honest to goodness, he won. I think, almost everybody knows he won. Siya ang talagang nanalong Presidente ng Pilipinas noong 2004,” the comedian said in his biography.
Endorsing Villar over Estrada
In 2010, Dolphy chose to endorse Senator Manuel Villar Jr.’s presidential bid even though Estrada again took a shot at the presidency.
The veteran comedian even appeared on a Villar campaign ad on TV, where he vouched for the senator’s integrity and humble roots.
Both Villar and Estrada, however, lost to incumbent President Benigno Aquino III.
In his authorized biography, Dolphy challenged every Philippine leader to fight corruption.
“Ang Presidente, sa tingin ko, ang dapat iniintindi at binabantayan ang kaban ng bayan… Kaso ang nangyayari, incoming sa kaban, outgoing sa bulsa ng may bulsa. Kaya ayan ang nangyayari. Ang kailangan natin, kamay na bakal. Kamay na bakal na hindi corrupt,” he said. — VS, GMA News