Politico Gil thrills to new celebrity career

Dispatch - Philippines

MANILA — Religious leader Eddie Gil may have failed in his presidential election bid — but he’s bucking the Philippines’ normal political trend by carving out a TV career for himself instead.

Gil, who was disqualified as a “nuisance candidate” shortly before the May 10 election, has become a media celebrity — a turnaround in a country where action stars such as Fernando Poe Jr. become pols only after achieving fame.

The candidate famous for his hat-like wig and clownish, bright yellow suits, has appeared on GMA’s morning show “Unang hirit,” comedy “Wazzup, Wazzup,” variety show “Masayang tanghali, bayan” (Happy Noon, Nation), public affairs show “Kontrobersyal” (Controversial) and sitcom “Tanging ina” (Special Mother) where he danced, sang like Elvis and got entangled in a comical romance with comedienne Ai-Ai de las Alas.

“Pipol” (People), an ABS-CBN profile show, sought out Gil. Rival net GMA’s biographical drama series “Magpakailanman” (Eternally) has plans to dramatize his life.

He also is set to sign a recording contract with Alpha Records, is mulling offers for his own TV talkshow and is considering making a movie with his daughter, Charlie.

“I can be a comedian,” he says, “but I’d be more effective as an action star.”

Meanwhile, locals are still waiting to find out who actually is president — final results aren’t expected until early this month.