After losing the congressional race in Camarines Sur’s fourth district last May, Aga Muhlach became visible again on TV through Pinoy Explorer, and now for the game show Let’s Ask Pilipinas, which will premiere on TV5’s primetime block this October 14.
“I’m just happy, happy to be back,” he remarked during his two shows’ pocket press conference, which was held yesterday, September 30, at a restaurant on Tomas Morato Avenue, Quezon City.
What was the first thing he did after the ballot counting?
“I missed my kids, I went to my farm.”
Entertainment writer Allan Policarpio was the first to bring up politics by asking how the actor had been coping with his failed bid.
Aga was quick to say, “I was not disappointed. Election day, ang sinabi ko nga, ‘Hinihintay ko na lang yung election day.’
“I was just waiting for Election Day para let’s get this over with.
“Sinasabi nila dadayain, na dinaya ka, gano’n. Whatever it is, sabi ko nga, e, ‘Yung boto, lumabas ke dinaya ka, ke hindi, ‘no…’”
The Kapatid star said he has no regrets, and he didn’t have a hard time bouncing back.
“So sa akin, I did my best. I was telling my staff, all of us, sinasabi ko, ‘Let’s give it our best shot, let’s campaign hard, let’s campaign strong, and let’s see.’
“Sabi nila, ‘Aga, you will never win there… Mapera yung kalaban mo, ganyan…’
“Okay lang, it will happen. Sa akin lang, move on kaagad. Let’s move on. Let’s go back.”
As if hinting at something more, the multi-awarded actor added: “Hindi man ako masaya sa nangyayari ngayon…”
WHAT IF? While talking about his travels as host of Pinoy Explorer, he related how our kababayans would usually address him as “senator.”
What if he ran for that post instead?
His honest reply: “Feeling ko, wala naman akong alam dun. Hindi ko kaya.”
Reporters present suggested that Aga had bigger chances of winning there.
“Hindi rin, I don’t think so,” he answered frankly.
“Wala namang artistang nananalo lang.
"Lahat ng artistang nanalo, may background lahat ‘yan—like sina Bong, sina Jinggoy, sila Ate Vi."
Aga was referring to actor-politicians Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada, and Vilma Santos.
“Si Ate Vi bago naging governor, naging mayor.”
In June, he filed an electoral protest over alleged uncounted votes in certain precincts where PCOS machines supposedly encountered “technical problems.”
And if the decision had turned in his favor?
He paused, before answering: “That, I don’t know.
“People voted for me, so it’s still my responsibility…
“Kasi ang sa akin lang naman is to perform, and to give them… masiguro na yung pera na nakalaan para sa tao, umabot talaga sa tao.
“I would be happy if yung mga funds talaga na ‘yan ay maging available para sa kanila.”
What now, with Wimpy Fuentebella winning?
His earnest answer: “There’s nothing there. Probinsiyang walang development.
“Kaya nga, kung ako’ng nakapuwesto ro’n, ang daling pasayahin ng mga tao ro’n.
"Kasi, all you have to do is ibigay mo lang sa kanila—meaning lahat ng walang kuryente, pakuryentehan, lahat ng kalsadang ano, importante, pasementuhan.”
The Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), he says, should go to these infrastructure projects and address the needs of the district and the constituents.
It’s plain and simple for the Kapatid star: “All you have to do—give it to them!
“Kung malakas ka sa Pangulo, malakas ka sa government, hingin mo yung kinakailangan, yung kinakailangan ng district.”
PORK-BARREL SCAM. With Janet Napoles and her bogus foundations hitting the headlines, and lawmakers getting dragged into the controversy, all PDAF-related money has come under scrutiny,
“Ang sa akin lang, nabuksan na ‘to," Aga says. "Kasi matagal nang hearsay, hearsay ito, e. Matagal nang sinasabi na there’s so much corruption, corruption...
“...maliwanag na, nasa atin na lang ‘yan. [Mga] Pilipino, bantayan na natin ‘to.
“My advice really is bantayan natin. Huwag na nating palampasin ’to.
“Kailangan managot talaga ang dapat managot, kung meron man, kung meron man."
Does he mean some lawmakers should be jailed?
Sounding frustrated, he cited a common case of injustice in the country.
“Ang mahirap, gumawa ng masama, kulong na kaagad.
"Eto, bakit porke may pera ka, hindi ka makukulong?”
Where does he think the problem lies?
A long pause, before he said, “There’s the system. They say, the system is corrupt, okay.
"Merong sistema ang mga pulis. May sistema ang mga magnanakaw. May sistema ang mga basketball player.
“Bawat circle, bawat grupo, may system.
“Sinabi nila that the system of government is corrupt.
“But they didn’t say, you have to steal.
“As simple as that.
“Parang, not because the system is corrupt e you’re supposed to steal.”
This, he summed up, means that everything is a matter of choice.
“Madaming tumakbo ng Congress. After three years, ayaw na kasi hindi nila kaya yung dumi.”
When he made the decision to run, he admits, a part of him was “scared.”
“Like people, we’re only human beings. Ayokong umabot sa point na pati ako, masali.
“Alam naman ng tao na hindi ako nagmamalinis.
“Tao ako, may mga kasalanan din ako, may mga pagkukulang din ako sa buhay.”
Careful not to offend anyone, he continued, “It’s just the sistema.”
Then he added, “What I’m saying is just in general. Like I would be fair to all the senators and congressmen, kasi sabi nga, sino naman tayo para manduro, mamintas ng tao o magbintang.”
He said that his analysis is simple and that the solution is complex.
Aga went on, “How will it change? How will it change? Kailangan talaga may mangyaring change... Kailangan may managot.
“Kung daan-daaang tao ang mananagot, then kailangang [daan-daang tao ang dapat tamaan]. Kasi, milyun-milyong tao ang naghihirap.
“That change will start if something drastic will happen.
“Mahaba pa iyan, siguro not in my lifetime...
“Pumangit nang pumangit ang nangyayari, pero ang dami mong perang naririnig, pero hindi umaabot sa tao.
“Sabi nila ningas kugon lang naman, huwag na tayong kumain ng ningas kugon. Tapusin natin ‘to.”
The bright side, he stressed, is that Benigno “PNoy” Aquino III is the President.
“My hats off to Noynoy," Aga said.
"Sabi nga niya, ‘Pasensiya na, tatamaan yung tatamaan. So nung sinabi niyang ang tatamaan, tatamaan, para sa lahat yun. Para sa lahat yun.
“Siguro baka nga umabot sa kanya.”
Taking a moment to ponder on the President’s State of the Nation Address (SONA):
“Hindi, parang ang feeling ko, yun yung sinabi niya, e. Nabuksan na ‘to e, so wala na tayong magagawa, tamaan ang matatamaan.
“I mean si GMA [Gloria Macapagal Arroyo], nakakulong ngayon, nakalimutan na ng tao iyan.”
POLITICAL PLANS. Will he consider running again?
Aga replied, “Ayusin muna natin. Tingnan muna natin.”
One of his primary reasons for entering politics was: “Naniniwala ako sa President, kay PNoy, kaya ako tumakbo.
"Gusto kong mahabol yung last three years niya…
“Naniniwala ako kay PNoy. Naniniwala ako sa kanyang ginagawa.”
Aga says his decision in the future will depend partly on who the next president will be.
He says that if he believes in that person’s leadership, he may consider running again, but for now, “Hindi ko pa alam.”
His foray into the world of politics was an eye-opener.
“Bilang pulitiko, makikita mo ang importansiya ng bawat tao.
“Me, I’m just grateful. I’m happy I’ve experienced that other side.
“Sa puso ko, sa paniniwala ko, nanalo ako.
“Hindi ako pinaupo ng Panginoong Diyos, siguro may rason Siya, at parati namang tama ang Panginoon.”
Aga Muhlach added that he was glad about one thing: “I can say that tumakbo ako, nakita ko—iba ang pulitiko, iba ang artista.”
And with pride, he declared: “Malinis ang trabaho ko."