GMA: NO POLITICS IN TAIWANESE F4 STAR'S MALACANANG VISIT

MANILA, NOVEMBER 6, 2003  (STAR) By Marichu Villanueva - Not politics but traditional Filipino hospitality.

This was the explanation given by President Arroyo regarding the Palace’s acceptance of the request of popular Taiwanese F4 star Jerry Yan for a formal audience with her.

Yan, better known as Dao Ming Zhu, the character he plays in the popular Chinovela "Meteor Garden," will pay a courtesy call on Mrs. Arroyo at 2 p.m. today at the Palace.

Brushing aside criticisms that it was part of her early election-related campaign gimmicks, the President said yesterday she is merely extending the traditional Filipino hospitality to a famous star.

"A well-known personality like him (Yan) has requested for an appointment with the President of the Philippines. Isn’t it good manners and hospitality if personalities like him are able to go to Malacañang and is able to greet the country through the President?" Mrs. Arroyo asked during an interview with the Radio Mindanao Network (RMN) while she was in Tagbilaran City in Bohol for a visit.

"All I can say is that whatever I do, (critics) will really accuse me of that (campaigning) whether I stay at the Palace or go around in provincial visits," Mrs. Arroyo said.

After declaring last Oct. 4 that she will run in the May 2004 elections, contrary to her announcement last year that she was no longer interested in another term, Mrs. Arroyo has been hounded by criticisms of premature campaigning.

Yan, the leader of the popular F4 group, is coming here for a concert with fellow F4 star Vic Zhu, who plays the role of Wah Sei Lei, also in the highly popular show "Meteor Garden" aired every afternoon over ABS-CBN.

Yan and Zhu are scheduled to have a concert on Nov. 29 at The Fort in Fort Bonifacio, Makati City.

Sources told The STAR that official representatives of the two F4 stars have requested the formal audience with the President through the office of First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo.

Zhu will make his own courtesy call on Mrs. Arroyo at the Palace on Nov. 29.

Sources told The STAR that official representatives of the two F4 stars have requested the formal audience with the President through the office of First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo.

Sisters Barbie Xu (San Chai) and Dee Xu, who also star in "Meteor Garden" will join Zhu in his visit to the Palace.

Their fellow F4 members, Van Ness Wuh and Ken Chu, who play Mitsuo and Xiemen, respectively, in the telenovela came to Manila last month for a concert at the Ultra stadium in Pasig City.

In fairness to homegrown Filipino entertainment personalities, Mrs. Arroyo has invited action star Ramon "Bong" Revilla and young actress Jolina Magdangal in today’s launching of "Artista Kontra-Droga" at Malacañang.

They will join their fellow popular Filipino actors, actresses and other local entertainment personalities in supporting the anti-drug campaign of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jose Lina Jr., who is also chairman of the Dangerous Drugs Board

Both Revilla and Magdangal are not strangers at the Palace since they work for the Arroyo administration. Revilla is Mrs. Arroyo’s chief of the Videogram Regulatory Board (VRB) while Magdangal is the host of the Palace-run TV documentary program on the President’s activities for the whole week.

And to prevent possible eruption of a new TV network war, Mrs. Arroyo will be featured as the lone guest of the weekly TV show program "Debate" on GMA-7 every Thursday night.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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