[PHOTO- Cesar Montano: What’s the real score?]

MANILA, JULY 12, 2012 (PHILSTAR) FUNFARE By Ricardo F. Lo - Because he’s often seen these days meeting with Manila Mayor Fred Lim, Cesar Montano may have unwittingly set off speculations that he’s being drafted as Lim’s running-mate in the 2013 elections against the tandem of former Pres. Joseph “Erap” Estrada and Vice Mayor Isko Moreno.

If ever, it would be Cesar’s third time to run, the first having been in 2007 for senator and then in 2010 for governor of Bohol.

To set the record straight, Funfare called up Cesar yesterday and he confirmed having met with Mayor Lim several times.

“Our meetings are not really politically-motivated,” said Cesar. “No, Mayor Lim is not asking me to be his running mate.”

The truth is that Cesar has been tapped to play the title role in another (the fourth) Fred Lim bioflick which is set for an early December release. The first Lim movie starred Rudy Fernandez; the second, former Sen. Ramon Revilla; and the third, Eddie Garcia.

Haven’t the three bioflicks exhausted what there was to reveal about Lim?

“There are more untold stories about him,” said Cesar who found them in Lim’s biography May Langit Din Ang Mahirap written by Nick Joaquin. “I didn’t realize how colorful and dramatic Mayor Lim’s early life was until I read the book.”

Shooting of the movie starts first week of August.

The ‘Kabayan Syndrome’

Because Noli “Kabayan” de Castro has made it as Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines, every showbiz denizen thinks that he or she is qualified to also run in an election — you know, if Kabayan can, why can’t I?

That’s why the political road paved (with good intentions) by Rogelio de la Rosa (who almost became the first President of the Philippines before Joseph “Erap” Estrada clinched the honor) in the early ’60s is a crowded avenue today, with showbiz folks of all shapes and sizes driven by different motives (some reportedly “for the funds of it”) swearing to high heavens, flaunting the hackneyed line “It’s payback time; I want to serve the people.”

Well, any natural-born Filipino citizen can and may run. But showbiz guys ready to take the often career-risky plunge into the political arena better heed first what Comedy King Dolphy once said (his exact words in an interview with The STAR in the early ’90s): Madali ang tumakbo; paano kung manalo?

No, venturing into politics (said to be deadlier than showbiz) is more serious than just a fun run because it entails great responsibility that starts not during the campaign but after the election — that is, if you’re lucky enough to win the nod of the electorate.

Are you ready to answer a knock on your door at ungodly hours from the taong-bayan who need money for transportation to the province, for medicine, for the funeral of a dear departed or for a thousand and one other needs? Are you ready to open your (especially secret) bank accounts for your SALN? Are you sworn to serving the people ng walang halong pag-iimbot at kalokohan at ng buong katapatan? Are you resistant to the temptation of using public funds for personal gains?

If you are ready to answer “yes” to all these questions, then go ahead. Good luck and God bless you!

Here’s a partial list of showbiz denizens who have made known their intention to run in the 2013 elections:

• Parañaque Councilor Alma Moreno for senator

• Annabelle Rama for congresswoman in Cebu City

• Aga Muhlach for congressman in Camarines Sur (fourth district)

• Phillip Salvador for vice governor (against incumbent Daniel Fernando) of Bulacan

• Richard Gomez for mayor of Ormoc

• Onemig Bondoc for vice governor of Bataan

• Valenzuela City Councilor Shalani Soledad-Romulo for congresswoman of Bulacan

• Quezon Board Member Gary Estrada for congressman

• Quezon City Councilor Alfred Vargas for congressman

• Rez Cortez for governor (or is it congressman?) of Camarines Sur

And here’s a list of those running for reelection:

• Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, and QC Councilors Roderick Paulate, Gian Sotto and Precious Hipolito

• Ormoc Rep. Lucy Torres

• Caloocan City Councilor Marjorie Barretto

• Bacoor Rep. Lani Mercado

• Laguna Rep. Dan Fernandez and Laguna Board Member Angelica Jones

• Manila Councilors Edward Maceda, Lou Veloso and Robert Ortega

• Laguna Gov. ER Ejercito and his wife, Pagsanjan Mayor Maita Sanchez

• Parañaque City Councilors Roselle Nava, Jason Webb and Val Sotto

• Makati Councilor Monsour del Rosario

• Dagupan Councilor Maybelyn dela Cruz

• Cainta (Rizal) Mayor Mon Ilagan

• Bacoor (Cavite) Mayor Strike Revilla

• Bataan Board Member Teri Onor

• Batangas Board Member Christopher de Leon and, of course,

• Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos.

By the way, Boy Abunda denied that he’s running for governor (or congressman) in Western Samar and so did Ai-Ai de las Alas for mayor of Quezon City. Eat, Bulaga! host Vic Sotto seems to enjoy keeping people guessing whether he will run (sana huwag na lang!) for mayor in Quezon City or not. According to reports, Bossing is not really interested but people close to him are pushing him into…running?

It’s a good thing that Luis Manzano got back to his senses and backtracked after floating the idea that he would run for mayor of Lipa City, a position once held by his mom, Gov. Vilma, who left it with a sterling record.

In his Tempo column, Ronald Constantino asked if the following would (dare) stage a comeback: Joey Marquez, Aiko Melendez, Edu Manzano, Ara Mina, Arnell Ignacio, Rico J. Puno, Nonoy Zuñiga, Jaime Fabregas, John Lesaca, Dingdong Avanzado, Mark Lapid, Barbara Milano, Zoren Legaspi, Roi Vinzon and Amay Bisaya.

My unsolicited advice to them?


(Postscript: The list of aspirants is expected to grow longer until October, the deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacy.)

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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