SPECIAL FEATURE: How losing celebrity candidates in previous elections faced and overcame defeat

SPECIAL FEATURE: How losing celebrity candidates in previous elections faced and overcame defeat-Gerry  Plaza
Gerry Plaza


05/09/2016 11:57 AM
SPECIAL FEATURE: How losing celebrity candidates in previous elections faced and overcame defeat

In the Philippines, it is quite an awesome advantage to be a celebrity, a popular actress, musician or performer, when running for public office. Not only do you get name recall when voters troop to the precincts on election day and casts the vote, you would get a voter’s faith, love, and loyalty as they are closely attached to your public persona—the blockbuster movies, hit songs, top rating shows.

But while a good number of famous Pinoy celebrities have succeeded not only in winning the elections but actually serving their constituents well throughout their term of office, some have not been so fortunate despite their immense popularity, endearing charm, and of course, their sincere intentions to serve.

The last two national elections in 2010 and 2013 had an incredible number of actors turned politicians who wanted to make their enormous shift to public service validated. Yet, those election years had the most number of celebrities who lost in the process.

Some have attributed their loss to heated confrontational politics with incumbent opponents, lack of solid platforms or credentials, and the machinery necessary to deliver their message.  But most have observed that the glitter of popularity has waned hrough the years. 

As such, celebrity candidates have indeed learned valuable lessons from the experience. These impeccable personalities may have failed to muster enough votes to prevail yet they have become ultimately wiser and stronger in either further pursuing their political careers or improve their own destined calling as the actors and celebrities we all enjoy and love to watch.

Aga Muhlach
We were all surprised when Aga declared his intention to run for the Partido district of Camarines Sur against William “Wimpy” Fuentebella. Some were enthralled that such a famous personality and multi-awarded artist decided to take that route of service. While the initial excitement among his rabid followers, especially the local residents of the municipality, it turned to uncertainty as opponents questioned his eligibility to run on the basis of residency. He eventually lost to Fuentebella in the biggest challenge ever to the family in over a century-old control of the district, by a mere 2,205 votes.

His heartbreaking loss might have been traumatic as it brought him out of the limelight for a couple of years.  But it didn’t take down his personal advocacy of service through a public office, which he may pursue in the future. For now, he is dead set for a showbiz comeback, with a purported Star Cinema film in the works. Indeed, the realization of his impeccable artistry is above any political face-off for the immediate time.

Annabelle Rama
We are all familiar with this feisty, no-holds-barred, outspoken matriarch of the Gutierrez clan who would stop at nothing just to bring her message across. Her strong aura and fighting stance at any given provocation was seen as surely fit for any elected office, especially when terrible, formidable opponents are always threatening. I mean, who could scare off Annabelle?

She ran in 2013 for the Congressional seat representing the North District of Cebu City against the incumbent Rep. Raul del Mar. Annabelle had been passionate about her campaign with what she says as her sincere wish to uplift the lives of her fellow Cebuanos. Despite her grueling intense effort to unseat Del Mar, she lost to the veteran lawmaker.

Annabelle had mixed emotions about her loss, saying that while the experience was enriching and enlightening, it was likewise traumatic as it made her see the “reality” of politics. She has since moved on after actually being quick to concede defeat and now focuses on yet another bout with “reality”, her family reality show It Takes Guts to be a Gutierrez, which is the main reason she is steering clear of politics anytime soon.

Rey Valera
The legendary composer and singer of such timeless hits Pangako Sa Yo, Kung Kailangan Mo Ako, Tayong Dalawa, Walang Kapalit, and Maging Sino Ka Man, which all turned out to be part of pop culture as theme songs or titles of top rating teleseryes or box office hits, is certainly a name we all know. Rey Valera’s masterful depiction in song of a Filipino in love has made him close to his countrymen’s hearts. 

It came to a point that the love he expressed in his craft would somehow translate to an advocacy of service for the people he had entertained and touched through the years.  And this he brought out in the open when he ran for Vice Mayor in Meycauayan, Bulacan in 2013. He fought the good fight yet eventually lost to Rafael Manzano.

Since his political defeat, Rey took it stride and continued his impressive career in the entertainment industry. Now he is prominently seen as the head judge of “Tawag ng Tanghalan” on It’s Showtime.

Richard Gomez
Richard Gomez is one passionate actor, who always gives his best in everything he does— be it an acting role in a teleserye or movie, or as a bemedalled sportsman in fencing, rowing, shooting, and volleyball.

As such, who can beat Richard’s tenacity and indefatigability in all the areas he involves himself in, including that pursuit for public office, which continues to this day? We can see his persistence and passion in his so many years for running and losing electoral contests, first in his nascent drive for a Senate seat in 2007, then for two local posts in Ormoc City: vying for congressman in 2010 and mayor in 2013. 

Indeed, Richard never takes his defeats as personal failures but as motivation to strive better to fight another day.  This he will definitely put in full force in his current run for Mayor in Ormoc City in the hopes of reversing his fortunes and finally win his coveted prize. 

Cesar Montano
He is one action star who takes the acting craft seriously. And, he has definitely gotten an immense following due to his outstanding exploits in cinema, not only as an actor but as a director as well. 

Cesar Montano is hailed for his portrayal as the national hero in Jose Rizal, the fisherman Fredo in Muro-Ami, and the Muslim fighter Ahmad in Bagong Buwan, where he copped Best Actor plums.  But the highlight of his career came when he starred, produced and directed Panaghoy sa Suba in 2004, wherein he received several awards as both the lead actor and director, and the recognition for best film in both the Gawad Urian and the Metro Manila Film Festival, where it was originally shown.

Cesar’s impressive visual depiction of Bohol in the film was truly indicative of his fondness and love for his home province. Hence, his natural desire to serve his provincemates by running for governor in 2010. After a “good fight,” Cesar lost to the outgoing congressman then, Edgar Chatto. 

Since that defeat, Cesar had since been faced with numerous controversies, including his separation from wife Sunshine Cruz. And such had discouraged him from making further political moves, but he has recently resurrected his acting career with the highly publicized MMFF film Nilalang co-starring Maria Ozawa and the current TV5 teleserye Bakit Manipis Ang Ulap? with Claudine Barretto and Diether Ocampo.

On how he deals with all the brickbats and setbacks, Cesar indicated he learned to stay positive: “Despite the situation I’m in, I try to remain positive. I believe there’s a right time for peace and harmony to reign. Darating din ’yan,” he tells the Manila Bulletin.