The most daring role Robin has ever played
() - May 21, 2000 - 12:00am

Of the many hats Robin Padilla wears these days, none is more important than that of peace negotiator in the Mindanao conflict. It is Robin the Abu Sayyaf asked for when the government was scouting for someone who can deal with the rebels down South.

ent2And the choice, as we know by now, was the right one. Robin arrived in Manila with his mission accomplished: two girls were allowed to go free after they were hostaged.

End of story? Not quite.

"The Mindanao problem will not end if government and Muslims refuse to talk. Outwardly they're talking, but they're fighting each other once they turn their backs. What's that?" Robin shakes his head.

But this does not mean Robin has given up all hope. The arrival of the former Libyan ambassador to negotiate peace is a good sign, says Robin.

His message to fellow Muslims: "Stop condemning the Abu Sayyaf. If you think they are wrong, pray for them. And protect the hostages. Don't hurt them. If there's a call for peace, we must abide by them."

Does this mean Robin is turning politician while showbiz takes a back seat?

He lets out an instant "No, no, no! I can help others by being a civilian."

And so he is busy promoting Eto Na Naman Ako (Millennium Cinema), his reunion movie with former girlfriend Vina Morales. The action-comedy-romance casts Robin as the singer-actress' (Vina) bodyguard. It is their fourth movie team-up.

As such, Robin does away with the signature leather boots, leather jackets and tattered jeans. He goes corporate by wearing a suit with matching necktie instead.

Robin wins the girl in the end, of course. And kisses her on the lips as well.

But doesn't this run counter to the tenets of Islam? Robin replies, "I ask forgiveness from my Muslim elders for that. But I've asked somebody in the know and he told me that it's okay if I do it in the context of work."

It is also in this context that Robin got to kiss Regine Velasquez in an upcoming starrer.

And he concedes "that would mean another apology from me."

Robin will leave for Australia middle of next month to be by wife Liezl Sicangco's side when she gives birth to their first boy and fourth child on June 20.

The excited father already has a name for the baby: Ali, which means follower of God.

It is for this that Robin has opted for a change of his Muslim name from Abdul Aziz to Abu Ali, translated as "Father of Ali."

Robin carries this new name proudly, as proudly as he does the fact that he has become a bridge between Muslims and Christians and that he loves Liezl so much he can't bear to hurt her at this crucial time in her life.

ABU ALI ABU SAYYAF BUT I ETO NA NAMAN AKO FATHER OF ALI LIEZL MILLENNIUM CINEMA MINDANAO MUSLIMS AND CHRISTIANS ROBIN
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