Quezon City, March 11, 2002 (STAR) By Ricardo F. Lo - Best wishes to Pilar Pilapil who’s getting married next month in her native Cebu to a minister who, at 28, is a year older than Pilar’s daughter, Pia Laurel Pilapil (married to Gerry Gonzalo).

Pilar and her new love met and fell in love during their Christian ministry so their union can be said to be made in heaven. At 51, Pilar could be a big sister, a wife, a lover and an aunt to her future husband, all rolled into one.

It’s Pilar’s second marriage, the first one, to Spanish journalist Michel Ponti, having ended on the rocks. Pilar and Michel are divorced. I still remember the couple’s wedding ceremony on Oct. 12, 1986 at the Manila Cathedral because of an unusual incident right at the altar in the middle of the wedding ceremony. The solemn silence echoed with a very audible thud when Pilar tumbled backward from her seat, prompting some of the principal sponsors (among them FPJ and Elvira Manahan who was murdered in her Forbes Park home exactly a year later) to rush to Pilar’s side and help her back to her seat.

It turned out that Pilar had missed several meals, so she got weak and dizzy. The marriage lasted for barely two months. On their honeymoon in Madrid, Pilar and Michel had a fight. Without Michel’s knowledge, Pilar packed her things and flew to L.A. before proceeding to Manila, leaving Michel, so to speak, holding an empty bag.

That was 15 years ago. I’m happy for Pilar who has found a new love. I wish her – and her future husband, who will remain unnamed for the time being – all the best. Pilar has been through the toughest trials and she deserves all the happiness in the world. I pray that this time, her marriage will last forever and ever since both she and her beloved will surely put Christ in the center of it.

Good luck, Pilar, and best wishes!


It was a case of mistaken identity and while we wish the real victim to be rescued alive and well, we thank heavens at the same time that the wrong victim is safe and sound, together with his wife and children.

I’m talking about Gino Padilla who was reported in yesterday’s papers to have been kidnapped in Nueva Ecija (see related clarificatory story somewhere in this issue).

That Padilla, also named Gino, is reportedly the half-brother of Robin Padilla; while this Padilla, Gino the singer, is the nephew of Robin and the cousin of Zsa Zsa Padilla.

Gino’s mother, Melanie Padilla (one-time actress using the screen name Lani O who was in, among her few movies, Lo’Waist Gang), is the sister of Carlos Padilla, Jr. (Zsa Zsa’s father) who is the son of Carlos Padilla, Sr., older brother of Roy Padilla, the late Governor of Camarines Norte, Robin and Rustom’s father.

In a phone chat with Funfare yesterday morning, Gino (whose full name is Gino Padilla Javate; his father, Virgilio Javate, is separated from his mom who has remarried and now living in the US) said that he did remember having taken a vacation in the farm of his namesake (the kidnap victim) when he was a kid.

"When Robin was in Munti (National Penitentiary)," added Gino, "I visited him. The guard let us in without any hassle. When Robin came out, he greeted me by saying, ‘Gino, utol, kumusta?’ Robin thought that I was Gino, his half-brother. But I don’t really know Gino, my namesake, that well. I don’t even remember how he looks like."

Now busy with his own business, Gino became popular when he sang a duet with Tina Turner for a Pepsi commercial, followed by several more hits like Let the Love Begin (Gino’s duet with Rocky, a female singer now based in the US) and Closer You and I (a solo).

"Every now and then," said Gino, "I still accept singing engagements."

Gino is married to Concepcion Canno, daughter of a general. They have two kids.

There you are. Gino Padilla is unharmed, safe and sound. You can’t blame the media for the "mistaken identity" report because that Gino and this Gino happen to be both Padillas.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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