Award-winning former child actor Naia 3 ‘Terminal Man’
Life for the child actor who won an award for his role in the movie “Magnifico” is less than magnificent these days.
For four days now, Jiro Manio has been wandering at Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) and trawling the strip of fast-food restaurants for leftovers, according to airport personnel who have been chipping in to feed him and give him a change of clothes.
The homeless Manio also appeared disoriented and had denied that he was the child actor, saying he only looked like him.
In a phone interview with the Inquirer, the actor’s grand uncle, Andrew Manio, 56, said that the younger Manio had gone missing from their Cainta home on Saturday.
“(Jiro) took his bag and mobile phone and left without telling us where he was going,” Manio said.
“We did not know where to look for him because when we tried to call his cell phone, it was out of reach. We were very worried because he did not have any money,” the older man added.
Late Tuesday night, the Inquirer learned that Manio’s family was going to pick him up from the airport.
Manio said it was the second time his grandnephew left home without a word. The first time was when the actor got out of drug rehabilitation in 2011.
“But that first time, he was gone only for a day and we managed to find him. This time, we really had no idea where he had gone,” Manio said.
The first time the actor ran away from home, his grand uncle surmised, must be because of an unsettled bill of nearly P100,000 at the rehab center.
On Saturday, before the actor left, he had been depressed and agitated, Manio said. “It looked like he did not know what he was doing or where he was going,” he added.
The older Manio said the actor had been despondent since his grandmother and aunt cut off all ties with him, even blocking him on Facebook six months ago.
“His grandmother, who is in Japan, had promised to take him there so he could meet his father whom he has not seen since birth,” Manio said, adding that apparently someone had told Jiro’s relatives that he was old enough to fend for himself.
“We are just hoping that the government or anybody can help us get him the psychiatric help he needs,” the older Manio said.
At the airport, the troubled 23-year-old was clad in a hand-me-down shirt over shorts, with a towel slung over his shoulder.
“He looked as if he hasn’t had a decent meal and his clothes were dirty,” recalled airport security guard Frank Sorca, who initially recognized Manio and gave him food, clean clothes and hygiene supplies.
The actor took the clothes and food but refused to bathe or even cut his nails, Sorca said, adding that Manio had told him that he had left home to flee from his enemies.
Manio turned up at the terminal with bruises on his body and appeared like he had been beaten up, the security guard said. The actor had told him that he didn’t want to leave the terminal because he only got hurt outside, Sorca said.
“But when I asked him again another time, he told me a different story. He constantly changes his answers,” the security guard said, hinting that the actor might have been mentally unstable.
The actor started his show-biz career at the age of 7 in the movie “Pamana” released in 1999. As a 9-year-old, he starred in the movie “Gimik: The Reunion,” and was later named best child performer in the 2001 Metro Manila Film Festival for the movie, “Bagong Buwan.” As a 12-year-old, he won a Famas and Urian best actor awards for the movie “Magnifico.”
Manio was also part of the successful comedy film series “Tanging Ina” where he played the role of “Shammy.”
Born to Japanese father Yusuke Katakura and Filipino mother Joylene Santos, the actor also made headlines when he became a young father at age 15. He fathered a daughter with a nonshow-biz girlfriend four years his senior. He has two daughters.
Manio was a Star Magic talent from 2001 to 2009, but was dropped from ABS-CBN’s talent roster because of his “unprofessional and irresponsible behavior,” according to a 2009 statement from the network. He was then working for the teleserye “Tayong Dalawa” which starred Kim Chiu, Gerald Anderson and Jake Cuenca.
The actor voluntarily went into rehab for his drug problem in 2011 and underwent therapy for a year. At about the same time, he graduated from high school at Rizal Experimental Station and Pilot School of Cottages Industries.
Film and television director Maryo J. de los Reyes asked the public to give the young actor a second chance, saying he was positive that Manio would recover and eventually change his ways. De los Reyes said the director of the drug recovery center had asked him to look for a person who could take care of the young actor’s finances and work schedule.
“Jiro is an orphan staying with a foster father, who I heard is also very ill,” he added.
The director said the actor needed psychiatric help. “It’s sad that people around him don’t know how to handle him. Society fears people who come out of rehab, thinking they’d always be troublesome… That’s why kids like Jiro experience relapses.”
Manio had been placed in another rehab facility shortly after his 2011 confinement, but “I guess he couldn’t adjust,” De los Reyes said, adding that the actor had been offered roles in various TV shows but had difficulty honoring his commitments. “As his manager, it had been stressful for me. Jiro wouldn’t show up for work or he would leave the set, or simply disappear when he felt tired. This caused problems to the production team. I got tired of it and can only pray that he realizes what he is getting himself into,” the director said.
“Drugs are really a menace to society. We have here a fantastic, brilliant actor who succumbed to it. I don’t know how he can be helped,” De los Reyes said.
“Maybe (Quezon City) Mayor Herbert Bautista can help him. He needs treatment,” he added.
Bautista’s office runs Klinika Bernardo, a specialized social hygiene clinic under the Quezon City Health Department, which provides free counseling, testing and treatment.
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