Judy Ann Santos initially did not want to comment on the recent statement made by Sen. Maria Ana Consuelo "Jamby" Madrigal about hiring actors for election campaigns.
The sole lady presidential aspirant in the May 2010 elections was caught saying at a forum held recently that: "The use of actors—you had to pay P30 million to endorse you—is an insult to the Filipino intelligence."
Sen. Madrigal also expressed her regret in getting a celebrity endorser—referring to Judy Ann—during her senatorial campaign in 2004. The senator said, "I have seen the folly of my ways... I will not repeat it because I do not believe you repeat a mistake. But I also don't believe you should perpetuate lies that are perpetuated by a big budget."
Judy Ann was hesitant to react to these statements made by Sen. Madrigal because she did not hear it personally. However, to make things clear, the 31-year-old actress related her feelings about the issue during the media conference of her Lactacyd endorsement yesterday, February 15, at Annabel's restaurant on Tomas Morato, Quezon City.
"I was hurt. I was deeply hurt," she admitted. "Honestly, in my opinion, sa sinabi niyang mga words na she regrets getting my services... Of course, hindi naman po ako manhid para hindi masaktan dahil buong paniniwala ko she got my services because she actually believed in me and it was a sincere offer."
Judy Ann added, "And I think on my behalf, ang masasabi ko lang po talaga ngayon, 'Okay, 'yon ang opinyon niya, e.' Hindi ko po haharangin or hindi po ako makikipag-away, or hindi ko sasagutin ito nang parang wala akong utang ng loob. Edukada po akong tao."
Judy Ann also recalled the campaign rallies she attended for the Senator. "For whatever it's worth, siguro naman po, sa bawat probinsiyang pinuntahan namin, may lima o tatlong tao akong nakumbinsing iboto siya. Kung nakatulong man ako o hindi sa kampanya niya, hindi ko naman po aangkinin lahat. Siguro nga, baka hindi."
The actress also related that it was her talent manager Alfie Lorenzo who talked to Sen. Madrigal's camp about the endorsement. "Before she campaigned for the senatorial run, I already did an infomercial with her. From there, I thought that it's okay and magkaibigan naman kami and magkapartido naman sila ni Tatay Ron [the late Fernando Poe Jr.]."
LESSON LEARNED. Despite Sen. Madrigal's comment about geting celebrities as endorsers, Judy Ann said she does not regret campaigning for the former senatorial candidate.
"Kapag ginawa ko, ginawa ko," she explained. "Hindi po ako marunong magsalita na nagre-regret ako kasi parang sinira ko na rin naman ang pangalan ko at sinira ko na rin ang mga proyektong ginagawa ko. Parang bilang endorser, hindi ko na pinaniniwalaan 'yong sarili ko kapag ako mismo sinabi ko na, 'I regret doing this or doing that.' I did it because I believed in her. It's just that, hindi pala siya naniniwala sa akin."
The actress also realized that this issue taught her a lesson about endorsing politicians. "Siguro nga tama na bago ka mag-endorso ng isang pulitiko, kilala mo siya, mula ulo hanggang paa, bilang tao na magseserbisyo sa Pilipinas. At alam mo na siya o kilala mo na siya bago pa siya mangampanya."
So, when the actress was asked if she's would be endorsing a political candidate this coming May 2010 elections, she replied, "Kung mayroon man po akong ikakampanya, I'll do it in my own silent way. I opt to be silent kung sinuman ang ieendorso ko. Kasi baka sa susunod na may mangyari, i-regret ulit kunin ang services ko, mas doble sakit naman 'yon, di ba?"
She also stressed, "Ngayon lang, mas natuto ako na mas panindigan kung ano ang prinsipyo ko."
ON FAIR ELECTIONS ACT. During the interview, Judy Ann was also asked about her opinion on the Fair Elections Act, which states that celebrities and TV personalities who are in any way involved with a candidate or political party "shall be deemed resigned, if so required by their employer, or shall take a leave of absence from his/her work as such during the campaign period."
The young superstar defended her fellow celebrity endorsers by saying, "Wala naman sigurong pagkakaiba 'yong mag-endorso ang isang artista base sa kung sino ang pinaniniwalaan niya, di ba? Ang pag-eendorso ng isang kandidato ay hindi naman puro pera-pera lang. Ang ano rin niyan, e, kung sino talaga ang pinaniniwalaan mo.
"Maaaring isipin nila na humahanap ng power o kung anuman. Pero sana kung ang mga [ordinaryong] tao ay binibigyan nila ng freedom of expression, to campaign for a certain person, sana hindi naman isantabi ang ekspresyon ng mga artista. Bilang artista, tao rin naman kami. May karapatan din naman kami kung sino at kung bakit namin iniendorso ang pulitikong iyon."
ON TALENT FEE. Meanwhile, the actress told the media to just ask her talent manager about the supposed talent fee that she got for endorsing Sen. Madrigal.
Judy Ann said it's not proper for her to talk about it because, "Ang usapan ay pera, hindi naman dapat ako ang tinatanong diyan dahil talent lang ako. Wala akong karapatang sumagot diyan dahil ako, bilang artista, ginagawa ko ang dapat kong gawin. Kung tungkol sa pera 'yan, siguro ang dapat nilang tanungin si Tito Alfie. Hindi ko sasagutin 'yan."
She also pointed out, "Hindi naman ang lahat ng ito ay pera-pera lang, di ba? Hindi naman porke't artista ka, may katapat na pera 'yan. Hindi po. Hindi po lahat ng artista ay mukhang pera. Sana huwag naman nilang ilahat dahil parang sinabi naman nila na wala kaming pinag-aralan at kung hindi dahil sa pera, hindi kami gagalaw."
After this, the actress said she would not talk about the issue anymore. "Ayaw ko na pong magsalita kasi kapag nagsalita pa ako lalaki lang, mapapag-usapan pa. Sumagot lang ako dahil gusto ko lang malaman ng tao kung ano ang naramdaman ko."