Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada talk about Daboy's final moments

Rudy Fernandez (second from left) celebrated his 56th birthday, which turned out to be the last, last March 3 with best friends Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada, and Phillip Salvador.



Rudy Fernandez passed away today, June 7, at his home inWhite Plains, Quezon City. He was in the company of family and close friends.

His two-year bout with cancer has finally ended and the56-year-old actor is now in peace. His remains now lie in state at the HeritagePark memorial chapel, Taguig City. He is survived by wife Lorna Tolentino and their two sonsRafael and Renzo Marion; and by his son with Alma Moreno, Mark Anthony Fernandez.

Friends and family of Rudy will escort him to his finalresting place—also in Heritage Park—on Independence Day, June 12. Inaccordance with Rudy's request, his wake is open to the public for those who wishto pay their final respects. He also wishes that white flowers be given to accompany him on his final journey.

Startalk, whereLorna is a regular co-host, aired an exclusive coverage dedicated to thewonderful memory left behind by one of the most respected actors both in andout of show business.

RUDY WANTED TO SPEAK. Startalk's Butch Francisco covered thewake at Heritage Park and interviewed one of Daboy's best friends, Sen. BongRevilla. Bong, who looked solemn and composed, tried to keepit together as he talked about his longtime friend and their last few moments together.

"Around seven o' clock in the evening, tumawag sa akin siSenator Jinggoy [Estrada]. Sabi niya, ‘Pare, punta ka na dito, nag-drop yungkanyang [Rudy] blood pressure.' So, takbo kaagad ako sa bahay niya. Pagkakitako kay Daboy, medyo nanghihina siya.

"‘Tapos sabi ni Jinggoy, ‘Pare, ‘eto na si Senator Bong.‘Tapos idinilat niya yung mata niya. ‘Tapos noong pagkakita niya sa akin,parang ginanoon niya mata niya [idinilat]. ‘Tapos, pinipilit niyang magsalita.Sabi ko na, ‘Pare, huwag ka na magsalita. Dito lang kami. We're here para saiyo, hindi kami aalis dito. Laban ka, laban ka,'" Bong recalled.

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According to Bong, the ever-positive Rudy answered back,though weakly, a distinct "lalaban ako." As Bong related, Rudy was teary-eyedbut he was still fighting.

"We stayed there until five o'clock in the morning," Bongadded. "Sabi ng doctor, ‘Mukhang stable si Daboy, puwede na kayong magpahingamuna para relyebo kayo.' Umuwi ako sa bahay, magpapahinga ako. Pero pagdatingna pagdating ko sa bahay, may na-receive na akong text na ‘Bumalik ka na dito.'‘Tapos tumawag si Senator Jinggoy, so balik na ako doon."

Rudy was already gone by thetime he arrived at 6:20 a.m. "Five minutes late ako," Bong said in a downcast voice. "SiSenator Jinggoy nandoon na, inabot niya pa. Sila yung nagsabi na, according toSenator Jinggoy, na binulungan niya na, ‘Pare, sige na, go ahead. Sige na, kamina bahala dito.' So after five minutes, naputulan na siya ng hininga."

DEFYING PROGNOSIS. Lookingback on his experience with Daboy, Bong related how it affected him, from thedays everything looked fine to the day he has to accompany his friend tohis final resting place.

"Nasaksihan natin na since the beginning... Naglalarokami ng badminton niyan, very healthy, talagang...he doesn't even smoke, doesn'tdrink. Napakaingat niyan sa katawan. Nilagnat lang ‘yan, e. Then after that,nagpa-check-up siya, siguro one week siya yata nilalagnat. Hindi alam kungtrangkaso ba or what. Ayun pala, mayroon na siyang cancer. So yun, it turnedout na yun nga, may cancer siya."

But Rudy defied his doctor's prediction that he would onlyhave six months to live. Rudy said that he didn't believe his doctor, sayingthat he should change his doctor. The next doctor they went to gave thepossibility that Rudy's cancer is curable. That gave Rudy hope.

Rudy persevered and surpassed his former doctor's predictionof six months. This year, however, Rudy's strength began to wane and it was nowall up to the Almighty.

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DABOY'S LAST WORD. Bong said that, according to those who were with Rudy in his final minutes, Rudy's blood pressure dropped to 60/40 in the final 30minutes of his life. When this happened, everyone in the Fernandez household fearedthe worst.

"Nag-iyakan na sila," said Bong. "Hysterical na si LT,umiiyak siya na ‘Papa...papa...!' ganoon. ‘Tapos dumilat mata ni Daboy, ‘tapos sabiniya, ‘Mama...' ‘Tapos, yun yung huli niyang salita.

"Maganda na marinig din sakanila [Lorna and the rest of the family], but makikita mo talaga yungpagmamahalan ng mag-asawa. Yung care sa bawat isa na ayaw iiwan ng...parangpelikula, e. And yung pagmamahal niya sa anak niya, makikita mo, e, kasi yungmga anak niya lagi nandoon every time na may dadalaw sa kanya."

MORE THAN BROTHERS. SenatorJinggoy Estrada, probably the closest friend of Daboy, was less composed thanBong when Startalk's Lolit Solis interviewed him by phone patch from theGMA-7 studio. The quavering voice of Jinggoy was a barely audible whisper ashe recounted the final minutes of his dyingfriend.

"Tinawagan ako ni Lorna ng mga bandang five-thirty ng umaga,"Jinggoy's croaking voice said. "Sabi niya na punta ako kaagad sa bahay. So,dumeretso na ako sa bahay nila sa White Plains. Buti naman at naabutan ko pa siRudy na humihinga..."

Lolit asked if it was indeed Jinggoy who told Rudy thateverything was going to be okay. Jinggoy confirmed this by saying, "Noongnakita ko yung monitor kasi, medyo flat line na. Tinanong ko ang doctor na‘Bakit ganito?' Sabi niya sa akin, ‘Wala na.' Sabi ko kay Daboy, ‘Pare, pahingaka na. Ako na ang bahala sa iyo at sa pamilya mo dito.' Yun lang yung sinabi kosa kanya. "

Lolit observed how close Rudy and Jinggoy really were. They were more than brothers.

"Higit pa sa kapatid ang turingan namin ni Daboy," whimperedJinggoy. "Twenty years ago, bagamat superstar siya noon at hanggang ngayon, heremained a humble person. Very down to earth. ‘Tsaka madali siyangpakisamahan."

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Jinggoy then continued to relate how pivotal Rudy was in hislife, especially if he was having problems, or whenever there arguments betweenhim and Bong Revilla. Rudy was the peacemaker, Jinggoy said.

"Siya gumagawa ng paraan para magkaayos," Jinggoy sadlysaid. "Ayaw niya ng may away sa aming mga magkakabarkada."

Jinggoy's dad,former president Joseph Estrada, visited Rudy before, even if Erap himself could not bear to see Rudy suffer. Like Jinggoy,he was greatly affected.

"Mahal na mahal ni daddy si Rudy," Jinggoysaid, giving way to tears. "Nung na-confine daddy ko sa Veterans, siya lang ang kaibigan ko nadumalaw sa akin araw-araw, gabi-gabi...nagdadala ng pagkain...hindi niya akoiniwanan. Noong bumaba kami sa Malacanang, siya po ang lagi naming kasama. Siyapo ang laging sumusuporta sa amin. Hindi ko po makalimutan ang mga panahon nayun...na inalay po niya sa pamilya namin. Kaya mahal na mahal namin si Rudy..."

Now that Rudy is gone, will the bonds that the four ofthem shared continue? Will the remaining three friends—Jinggoy, Bong,and Phillip Salvador—act as fathers to the sons left behind by Rudy?

"Alam mo, sa pagiging tatay lang ng mga anak ni Rudy, e,walang problema yun," said the still quavering Jinggoy. "Nandito namankaming tatlo. Alang-alang kay Rudy dahil napakasakit ng kanyang pagkawala."

What is his message to the grieving Lorna?

"Tibayan niya ang kanyang loob," Jinggoy said."Magpatatag siya. Sa mga anak naman niya na si Rafraf at si Renz, at si Mark,ay huwag nilang pabayaan si Lorna, lalo na ngayon na talagang napakasakit namawalan ng mahal sa buhay. Ano man ang kailangan nila, dito lang kami...Handanghanda kaming magbigay ng tulong hangga't kailangan nila kami."


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