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Entertainment

The ‘politicalization’ of Regal’s Mother Lily

FUNFARE - Ricky Lo -
She used to shun politics like the plague, so it’s a (pleasant) shock to see Regal Matriarch Mother Lily now in the eye of the political storm, openly rooting for her chosen candidates not only by taking to the campaign trail, not minding the scorching sun, but also organizing movie presscons for them.

"Oh, yes," confirmed Mother Lily, "movie columns are very effective in showcasing candidates. People from all levels of society, from the AB crowd to the CDE crowd, read movie columns and movie articles more than political columns."

Mother Lily saw it for herself in l992 when Fidel V. Ramos ran for President. Because she believed in FVR and upon the request of then President Cory Aquino, Mother Lily organized a movie presscon at the Crystal Jade restaurant (now closed) in Greenhills to launch FVR’s candidacy. More than a hundred movie writers were invited. In the following weeks, FVR was in movie columns, movie magazines and even komiks.

When FVR won, Mother Lily again hosted a victory party for him at the Manila Polo Club in Forbes Park. On both occasions, Mother Lily shelled out her own money (she wouldn’t disclose how much), expecting nothing in return. As far as I know, Mother Lily never set foot in Malacañang during the FVR presidency. She was contented with the flowers FVR sends her on her birthday (Aug. 19).

"Mababaw ang kaligayahan ko,"
she said.

Since then, Mother Lily has organized more presscons/parties for candidates in succeeding elections, crossing party lines. During the 1998 elections, she supported Loren Legarda (who topped the senatorial line-up) whom she calls "anak" (while Loren considers her "my foster mother"), and other senatorial candidates like Frank Drilon, Ralph Recto, Kiko Pangilinan, Tito Sotto and Ed Angara.

This time, she’s at it again, throwing herself behind the FPJ-Loren KNP team and senatoriables from both parties, including Boots Anson-Roa, Jinggoy Estrada, Ernie Maceda, Johnny Enrile and Ernesto "Boy" Herrera of KNP; and Lito Lapid and Bong Revilla of K-4 (GMA’s party).

"Actually," said Mother Lily, "I’m not that close to FPJ. He did only one movie (Batang Quiapo with Maricel Soriano, mid-’80s) for Regal. It was a blockbuster. What I like about FPJ is his being a ‘less talk, more action’ man. He doesn’t talk much; he is performance-oriented. I’m closer to his wife, Susan Roces, who did several movies for Regal (the latest was Mano Po 2, shown at the Metro Filmfest in December last year). Susan will make an ideal First Lady."

Three nights ago when she called a movie presscon for Bong Revilla, Mother Lily did what she never did before – deliver a (prepared) speech extolling Bong’s virtues, describing him as "my anak" who, she said, love(s) to surprise her with gifts even without any occasion, like when Bong, learning that Mother Lily love(s) playing the piano, gave her one from Yamaha; or when he did a movie for Regal to give it a much-needed boost, offering his services for free.

Saying Bong served the industry well not only as an actor (and producer) but also as head of the Videogram Regulatory Board (VRB), Mother Lily noted in her speech:

"Everybody knows Bong as a loving husband and father. And a good family man can only be a good public servant. He showed outstanding leadership when he served the province of Cavite very well as Governor...(As VRB chief), he had the courage and vision to help the film industry...risked his life by doing his job with a passion and selfless dedication. For that, the whole industry is grateful to him."

Mother Lily said that she’s pushing for Boy Herrera because of his many achievements during his two terms as Senator, notably his campaign against drugs.

"The drug problem is destroying the very fiber of our society," said Mother Lily. "It’s destroying the youth. I’m behind Herrera in his campaign."

Now, a mere campaigner; soon, a candidate?

"No way," said Mother Lily who has been wooed to run (for Senator? for Congressman?) in previous elections. "I’m happy supporting candidates. When they win, I feel like a winner, too."

(E-mail reactions at [email protected])

BATANG QUIAPO

BONG REVILLA

BOOTS ANSON-ROA

BOY HERRERA

CRYSTAL JADE

ERNIE MACEDA

LILY

MOTHER

MOTHER LILY

MOVIE

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