Piolo Pascual on Sagada trip: It had nothing to do with gov’t
MANILA, Philippines — Actor Piolo Pascual has defended himself from accusations that he is leaning towards a particular political side, saying that his controversial trip to Sagada in Mountain Province had nothing to do with politics.
Pascual issued a statement Thursday, confirming also that he was at the picturesque municipality to help his friend and director Joyce Bernal obtain footage on the COVID-19 pandemic’s positive effects on the environment — which would be used for President Rodrigo Duterte’s penultimate State of the Nation Address (SONA) this month.
He insisted that it is not about the President or any political party.
“My trip to Sagada had nothing to do with the government. I haven’t met the President personally and I don’t do politics as some may know,” Pascual said.
“I was there with Direk Joyce and my friend Illac Diaz to help Direk Joyce get footage for her personal message/ video before the start of the SONA, showing how the environment has changed positively because of the pandemic. This isn’t about the President,” he added.
Several days ago, reports surfaced that Sagada, which has yet to register a single COVID-19 case, has rejected Bernal’s team, which sought to shoot parts of Luzon’s famous tourist destination as part of Duterte’s fifth SONA.
Town authorities said they declined the request — which appears to have been initially granted — due to existing ordinances barring tourism-related activities and services like booking hotels for outsiders in a bid to maintaining Sagada coronavirus-free.
Bernal is returning to direct Duterte’s SONA this year after doing the 2018 and 2019 editions.
Previously, actress Alessandra de Rossi defended Pascual from people asking why he was helping the administration. People on social media underscored that Pascual’s mother network, ABS-CBN, is currently not operating supposedly due to the administration’s reluctance to grant it a new franchise.
As of now, ABS-CBN’s fate remains in limbo as the bill giving the media giant a fresh 25-year franchise has not yet been approved in the committee level of the House of Representatives.
According to De Rossi, Pascual is doing a project about the environment that is not related to politics.
Pascual explained that he remains loyal to ABS-CBN, his mother network for decades.
“I grew up in a Christian home and we were raised to value hard work and loyalty. To not bite the hand that feeds you […] My loyalty has been with ABS-CBN since I was born in the business,” he said.
“My association with Direk Joyce has got nothing to do with my political stand and as a citizen of this country. I love my country regardless of who the President is, and I love my home network which is ABS-CBN. There’s not a day that I didn’t pray for ABS-CBN,” he added.
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