CEBU CITY, March 29, 2004
By Nikko Dizon – The country’s comedy king Dolphy blasted President Arroyo for saying she was unaware that he had a program on ABS-CBN.

"Aba, dugay na sa Malakanyang, tonto pa guihapon (They have long been in Malacañang yet they remain clueless)!" Dolphy, Rodolfo Quizon in real life, said to the delight of an estimated 15,000 Cebuanos who attended the political rally of the Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP) here Saturday night.

Dolphy was among several showbiz personalities who were present at the Cebu Sports Complex to lend their support to KNP standard-bearer Fernando Poe Jr. and the rest of the opposition coalition slate.

Dolphy made reference to the reported axing of his show "Home Along Da Airport" as part of several deals between the Arroyo administration and the Lopezes, owners of ABS-CBN — where Mrs. Arroyo’s running mate Sen. Noli de Castro was an ace broadcaster — and Maynilad Water, whose debts are being restructured by the government.

ABS-CBN, in a statement issued last week, has denied Dolphy’s show has been canceled, saying the reports were mere malicious fabrications that aim to give political color to something strictly showbiz. The taping of "Home Along Da Aiport" continues on schedule, it said.

Amid the controversy, the President said she did not even know Dolphy had an ongoing sit-com show.

"Nabasa ba ninyo sa diyaryo na sisibakin na ang programa ko? Kapag tinanong naman ninyo, sasabihin ng Malakanyang na hindi nila alam (Have you read the news about the planned shelving of my show? But when you ask Malacañang they would say they don’t know a thing about it)," Dolphy said.

Dolphy’s broadside against the Palace was the only remark he gave pertaining to the issue, but it still whetted the enthusiasm of the star-struck crowd that failed to fill the 25,000-capacity complex.

The comedian said the reported axing of his show was just one of the "harassments" on the Poe candidacy, the others being the candidate’s citizenship issue and the allegation that Poe once urinated on a showbiz reporter in the 1960s.

Dolphy also lambasted Malacañang for feigning ignorance of the demolition job against his friend FPJ, without necessarily hinting that it could be the handiwork of people close to Palace.

But even as he extolled Poe as one who is "pro-poor and sincere" and should be given a chance to effect change in the nation, Dolphy said that he would be the first to criticize the would-be president if he forgets his mandate.

"Bigyan natin siya ng pagkakataon para sa pagbabago ng bayan. Pero kapag nagkamali siya sa bayan, ako ang unang magagalit sa kanya," Dolphy said.

Among other showbiz stars who took turns hitting the administration were actors Richard Gomez, who lost a party-list seat in the House of Representatives in 2001, Eddie Garcia and Eddie Gutierrez.

Also present to provide entertainment numbers between speeches by KNP vice presidential bet Sen. Loren Legarda and the party’s 12 Senate candidates, were comedian Vic Sotto, the Sex Bomb Dancers, Ciara Sotto, Wendell Ramos, and Jomari Yllana, whose brother Anjo is supporting Mrs. Arroyo.

Pilita Corales sang the Visayan song "Usahay," and Poe joined her halfway through the number to the delight of the audience.

The rally was hosted by Sen. Vicente Sotto III and "Eat Bulaga" mainstay Ruby Rodriguez. Senator Sotto was with "Eat Bulaga" before entering politics.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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