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Political & showbiz stars who will shine in 2009

The future ain’t what it used to be.    Baseball coach Yogi Berra

To be successful in show business, all you need are 50 good breaks.  — Actor Walter Matthau

Can we mortal human beings really decipher the future? Since time immemorial, one of the oldest professions on earth is that of the fortuneteller or so-called seer or even that of false prophet. How can we predict the future?

I’m no prophet, but when GMA Network’s Channel 11 QTV asked to interview me about my predictions for 2009, I thought it was about my favorite topics — politics and the economy — because Hong Kong’s biggest Phoenix TV channel came here to Manila to interview me about the Philippines. 

By the way, I always tell foreign media that the Philippines will never suffer worse than our Asian neighbors. Back in the 1997 Asian financial crisis, Thailand, Indonesia and even South Korea suffered worse than us economically. Ironically, in good times, the Philippines still doesn’t boom as fast or as vigorously as the economies of our neighbors.

In 2009, I predicted, the Philippine economy will be less battered by the US/Japan-led global economic slowdown and we will register growth. I added that unlike politically uncertain Thailand or Malaysia, we can be certain that the unpopular yet politically cunning President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will maintain her tight grip on power up to 2010, and that remains an anchor of stability for the Philippines.

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However, we shouldn’t be complacent. We should work harder, be resourceful. We should make sure the government’s P300 billion economic stimulus plan is disbursed efficiently, unlike the fertilizer fund scam, and we should guard against wasteful corruption.

The QTV interview was for a show called The Beat, hosted by beauty queen Miriam Quiambao and Ivan Mayrina, with segment hosts Valerie Tan and Tonipet Gaba. It turned out they wanted me to share my predictions about Philippine showbiz, perhaps because I recently wrote a Philippine STAR column on the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) and also because I’m the new editor of S magazine on showbiz stars and scoops.

Here are some of my Philippine showbiz forecasts for 2009, which I shared with QTV:

• Showbiz stars who will start making waves before the forthcoming 2010 elections include Batangas Governor Vilma Santos as vice presidential candidate versus potential rivals former TV host and current Senator Loren Legarda (who is aiming to become the presidential candidate for Danding Cojuangco’s Nationalist People’s Coalition), “Megastar” Sharon Cuneta’s husband Senator Kiko Pangilinan, former Fernando Poe, Jr. election spokesman Senator Chiz Escudero (who is ideal as a team-mate of fellow NPC stalwart Loren), Senator Bong Revilla and Senator Jinggoy Estrada (who rumor has it is being wooed as the vice presidential running mate of Senator Manny Villar).

• Former actor and president Erap Estrada shall be a pivotal kingmaker, but I do not foresee him rocking the boat by running again for president in 2010. His other wife, Guia Gomez, told me she is running for mayor of San Juan City in place of her son Mayor JV Ejercito, who is planning to run as congressman. She said JV’s half-brother Jinggoy still has two terms left as Senator.

• GMA 7 Celebrity Duets grand winner and Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Bayani Fernando told this writer he is definitely planning to run for president, but I predict he may eventually slide down and win big as senator in 2010.

• I foresee Liberal Party presidential bet Senator Mar Roxas marrying award-winning ABS-CBN 2 newscaster Korina Sanchez in 2009, thus giving a big boost to his mass popularity just before the May 2010 polls. Will he draft Sharon’s husband Kiko or Kris Aquino’s brother Senator Noynoy Aquino as a vice presidential running mate?

• I forecast actor and TV host Edu Manzano running for Senator and possibly getting married to ex-Senator Freddie Webb’s beautiful TV newscaster daughter Pinky Webb. Actor, Singing Bee host and restaurant entrepreneur Cesar Montano might run as Governor of his home province of Bohol.

• Despite challenges from other politicians, I foresee Vice-Mayor Herbert Bautista winning the next mayor seat in Quezon City by a landslide after serving faithfully under the successful administration of three-term Mayor Sonny Belmonte. Councilor Aiko Melendez might run as congresswoman.

• Star Cinema of ABS-CBN 2 and GMA Films of GMA 7 will strengthen their dominance of local movie productions, while the other film producers could sadly go the way of such defunct giants as Sampaguita Pictures or LVN if they do not change their strategies and vision to adjust to bewildering changes in the 21st century.

• Marian Rivera of GMA 7 shall continue to be popular due to her mass appeal and telegenic looks. Her 2009 teleseries drama might not be as strong as Dyesebel.

• Other rising stars in TV and film include the articulate and charming Rhian Ramos, who also has mass appeal and a wholesome image. Female comeback stars for 2009 include Heart Evangelista who is beautiful and is likely to get more commercial endorsements, but she should avoid controversial issues. Single parent Jennylyn Mercado will strengthen her comeback. Sexy Angel Locsin will try to make a comeback in 2009 with strong ABS-CBN 2 support.

• Among the male stars, Dingdong Dantes and Richard Gutierrez of GMA 7 will continue to shine and rival each other for supreme leadership, while Piolo Pascual of ABS-CBN 2 will try to challenge them.

• Among young stars, Ateneo basketball star and TV host Chris Tiu will fly high with his wholesome and positive role model image for the youth. Young actors with good futures include JC de Vera and the also wholesome Robbie Domingo.

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