Jigo Garcia from "Tuesday Group" member to barangay captain

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"'O, artista iyan kaya nanalo iyan.' Ang pagiging artista is plus factor talaga kapag nagka-campaign ka at nagpapakilala ka. Siyempre kilala ka. So kapag naglakad ka, ma-re-recognize kaagad ng tao, ‘Uy, si Jigo iyan.' Kapag hindi ka artista, ordinaryong mamayan ka, gagawa ka pa ng paraan para makilala ka. So, yun lang naman yung plus factor doon," Jigo Garcia said when asked about the advantages of being a celebrity in the political arena.


Far from the limelight of show business, former That's Entertainment mainstay Alfredo "Jigo" Garcia has been running the affairs of Barangay Doña Josefa in Quezon City since 2002.

Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP) got the chance to chat with the barangay chairman last Monday, October 1.

He is responsible for the barangay that has a population of more than 2,500 residents. He also looks after Banawe Street in Quezon City, including its many shops that cater to motorists looking for affordable vehicle spare parts and services.

Jigo is aided by his six council members (kagawad) and 10 barangay watchmen (tanod), who all work daily to maintain peace and order within their community.

THE CAPTAIN. Jigo first held the barangay kagawad post in 1997 before he took over as officer in charge in 2001. The next year, he won the elections as barangay chair.

Jigo gets a natural high from his present role. He particularly likes it when he wears the hat of a mediator to settle disputes in the neighborhood. The problems range from the simple intances, like water dripping from a neighbor's laundry or dogs barking in the middle of the night, to the complicated scenario where "land" and "millions of pesos" are involved.

"Kahit na anong problema ang ibigay niyo sa akin. Para akong shock absorber. Parang naglalabas ng sama ng loob sa akin. Ako naman kapag nagsasalita sila, I don't take it against them. Natutuwa ako sa kanila dahil nagsasalita sila sa akin. Ibig sabihin, may tiwala sila sa akin. Sa akin sila naghihinga ng sama ng loob nila para kausapin yung kabilang party," he narrates.

His father, who tried running for barangay captain but lost, is his inspiration. "Ang nakikita ko sa Papa ko noon... yung pagiging matulungin niya sa mga kaibigan," the former teen-comedy actor says.

He recalls his father's reaction when he first broached the idea of running for a post. "Nagulat nga ang Papa nang magpaalam ako na maging kagawad. ‘Bakit anak?'

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"Kasi naging conscious ako sa mga nangyayari. Kasi may anak na ako. Ang sabi ko noon sa sarili ko, dapat lumaki ang anak ko sa isang maayos na environment, maayos na neighborhood. Nilalagay ko parati yung sarili ko sa bata. Gusto ko paglalabas ang anak ko, gusto ko maayos ang lalakaran niya, maayos yung mga establishment na makikita niya sa labas."

THE FAMILY MAN. Jigo has four kids—Angelo, 14; Austin, 12; Aubrey, 11, and Ashley, 8—with his wife Amy Garcia.

"Kapag tinanong mo ang mga anak ko, ang sasabihin nila ay lima silang magkakapatid," he tells PEP.

The fifth is Jenica Garcia, with his former girlfriend, actress Jean Garcia with whom he maintains a cordial relationship. Jenica, like her mom, is now part of showbiz. She is busy with GMA-7's teen-oriented show Boys Next Door and Regal Films' upcoming movie Hide and Seek.

Jigo's Sunday is family day. He makes sure he gets to bond with all his kids and brings the family to the Greenhills Christian Fellowship.

"I see to it na nandiyan ang mga anak ko kapag Sunday. ‘Pag nakita mo kami, pito agad kami sa kotse, nagsisiksikan. So, kung titingnan mo kami sa loob ng sasakyan, para kaming sardinas. Pero makikita mo na masaya kaming lahat!" Jigo beams.

He is specially fond of his eldest daughter Jenica.

"Umaga, magkasama kami hanggang mga twelve [noon]. Magla-lunch out or magla-lunch sa bahay. Pagkatapos noon, kanya-kanyang laro sila ng mga anak at pinsan nila. Tapos, I see to it na kapag magdi-dinner na, ihahatid ko na siya. Kasi, gusto kami yung magdi-dinner naman. I always see to it na may quality time kami. Gusto ko magku-kuwento siya sa pag-aaral niya, sa personal na buhay niya."


Of Jenica's mom Jean Garcia, Jigo recalls only the happy times of their young love.

"Wala kaming problema. Sobrang tweetums kami noon. Para kaming may rugby sa katawan noon. Lahat ng mga nakakakilala sa amin, noong naghiwalay kami noon, hindi makapaniwala!" he laughs.

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THE FORMER TEEN STAR. Those happy memories include the friendship he formed with the members of That's Entertainment's Tuesday Group, where he stayed from 1986 until 1989.

"Nami-miss ko yung kapag nagpra-praktis kami para sa mga production number. Alam mo ba na parang parati party yung nangyayari kila Billy Crawford? Yun yung nami-miss ko."

He recalls boisterous times: "Every time may happening kami sa kanila. Parating ka pa lang, kababa mo pa lang sa kotse, sisiguraduhin mo yung wallet at beeper mo iiwan mo sa kotse. Kasi pagpasok na pagpasok mo sa gate, may magbubuhat na sa iyo. Si Janno [Gibbs], bubuhatin ka niyan. Alam mo, wala akong baon na damit, yung pang-praktis lang. May praktis man or wala, may party lang na magkikita lang kami. ‘Pag papasok ka ng gate, bubuhatin ka na kaagad at dadalhin ka sa swimming pool. ‘Yan yung mga na-miss ko na nangyayari sa amin."

Now that daughter Jenica is also in showbiz, the lure to return is enticing.

One time, Jenica commented, "Papa, magpapayat ka naman!"

And he's thinking of doing just that. "Alam mo, miss na miss ko na yung camera. Siguro this 2008, I will do my best to trim down. Kapag medyo okay na ako, magsasabi na ako."


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