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NATIONAL DAY OF REMEMBRANCE

Dolphy day meant to celebrate his life

Dolphy. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/ROMY HOMILLADA

MANILA, Philippines—President Benigno Aquino III’s declaration of a national day of remembrance for comedy king Dolphy was more to celebrate his life rather than to mourn his death, according to Malacañang.

It was the wish of Dolphy’s family to forgo the declaration of a national day of mourning that would have necessitated flags in all government offices throughout the country being flown at half-staff, said deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte.

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Dolphy, Rodolfo Vera Quizon in real life, will be best remembered for bringing laughter and joy to Filipinos, and his family wanted to remember the happy moments rather than the sad, she said.

“The family suggested that, if possible, it not be a national day of mourning because if they were to ask their Daddy, it would be better if it was just a commemoration or celebration and not mourning,” Valte said.

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Valte was responding to some complaints about why Mr. Aquino did not declare a national day of mourning for the “King of Comedy.”

“We took them up on their suggestion and the President was respectful of their wishes and thus declared a national day of remembrance,” Valte said.

Interment Sunday

Dolphy, who died at 83 last Tuesday night from a debilitating pulmonary disease, will be buried in private rites Sunday at Heritage Memorial Park in Taguig City, in keeping with the request of his family.

The media frenzy that has attended the wake since Wednesday will be held at bay as television and print media will be barred from the chapel and kept at a respectful distance in a designated viewing area.

“Tito Dolphy shared his life with the Filipino people when he was still alive. This time, his children and loved ones want to keep him for themselves during their final moments with him. They hope the people will respect their decision,” said talent manager Noel Ferrer, who is a close friend of the family.

Epy Quizon, one of Dolphy’s sons, said his father’s coffin almost fell to the floor on Thursday night when the crowd became uncontrollable. This was why he wanted the burial to be private, he said.

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“Our family will fight for a solemn moment with him for the last time,” Epy stressed.

Basil Valdez to sing

The family has asked singer Basil Valdez to perform during the funeral service, which starts at 10 a.m. Sunday. Valdez will sing “Tanging Yaman,” “Kulimlim,” “Ama Namin,” “Lift Up Your Hands” and “Lead Me Lord.”

Eric Quizon, Dolphy’s director son and the spokesperson for the family, and Zsa Zsa Padilla, the comedian’s longtime partner, will speak at the service.

Dolphy will be wearing a white suit and a red silk tie when he is taken to his final resting place at Heritage Park. Padilla personally changed the comedian’s clothes on the second day of the four-night vigil.

White flowers—daisies, roses and anthuriums—will adorn Dolphy’s gold-plated coffin, which he bought way back in 1977. Friends and family members will all be wearing white, the comedian’s favorite color.

The names of the pallbearers were still being finalized as of press time.

No state funeral

Fans and supporters of the comedy king were allowed to view his remains on Saturday until 6 p.m.

Heritage Park marshals reported that more than 10,000 fans had visited as of 2 p.m. Saturday.

Epy said some fans had to be repeatedly reminded not to take photos.

There will be no state funeral for the comedian, according to Ramon Carandang, head of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office.

State funerals are traditionally accorded former presidents, national artists and scientists, and other individuals deemed of national significance.

Saturday, a luncheon at Heritage Park was organized by the GMA 7 broadcast network, while the necrological service Saturday night was hosted by Tape Inc., the producer of the game show “Eat… Bulaga!”

GMA 7 tribute

GMA 7 president and CEO Felipe Gozon presented a posthumous plaque of recognition to the Quizon family for Dolphy’s contribution to the entertainment industry for 60 years.

Revillame said he took a leave of absence from his game show “Wiltime Big Time” to mourn the passing of his idol and mentor.

“It’s hard to make people laugh when you know the king of comedy is no more,” he said.

“Our times together kept flashing on my mind. It was difficult to concentrate,” said Revillame who was one of the first to rush to Makati Medical Center, where Dolphy was confined for a month, on the night of the comedian’s death.

Revillame said he had always consulted Dolphy before making major decisions, such as his controversial transfer from ABS-CBN to TV5 in September 2010.

Down on his luck

“I remember going to his house when I was jobless because ABS-CBN pulled me out of my noontime show (in 2001). I had decided to simply relocate to America, to try my luck there. He gave me money and made me promise to take care of myself,” he recalled.

“I would go to him when I was confused. I would tell him all my heartaches. I remember him telling me, ‘You have talent, nurture it. That will be your weapon in this industry,’” he said.

He told of his recent heart-to-heart talk with Padilla, Dolphy’s partner for 23 years. “She’s trying to be strong, but she expects it to be hard and painful in the coming days, especially when she goes back to the home she shared with Dolphy for 20 years,” Revillame said.

“I keep telling her, what’s important is that you were able to share precious times with him, that he loved you and you loved him,” he said.

‘John en Marsha’

Actress Judy Ann Santos said that complimenting her on her performance in the comedy film “Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo” (2006) was the greatest gift the comedy king has given her.

“Ryan (Agoncillo, her husband) and I bumped into Tito Dolphy at a mall in Makati. He said, ‘I saw your film. It’s good.  Nakakatawa pala kayong dalawa ni Ryan.’ This really planted smiles on our lips,” Santos said.

“For the comedy king to appreciate our comedy film, that’s a big thing for us,” she said.

Santos said she would always remember Dolphy as humble and fair. “He treated the people he worked with as his equal. That’s what’s best about him. Young actors today should learn from him: ‘Don’t go around acting like a superstar,’” she added.

RPN 9 assistant general manager Edith del Rosario described the program that the broadcast network hosted at Heritage Park on Friday night as a “send-off” for the comedy king. RPN 9 aired excerpts from “John en Marsha,” Dolphy’s long-running sitcom in the 1980s.

“It was true what Kitchie (Benedicto, the producer) said that thanks to Mang Dolphy, we were able to keep our jobs for years. Dolphy and his ‘John en Marsha’ supported us for a long time,” she said.

The group presented a plaque of appreciation to Dolphy’s family. “He was there for us for 20 years. He was everyone’s father. He was also our Santa Claus during Christmastime. Everybody received gifts, especially those who were able to work with him on his shows,” Del Rosario said.

Exceptional Filipino

TV5 chair Manny Pangilinan, Dolphy’s boss since his transfer to the Kapatid network in 2010, said the comedian was “exceptionally outstanding in two things.”

“A unique and exceptional Filipino in the truest sense of the word, and at the very core, a kind and generous man who believed in simple and humble things, who believed in loyalty to friends and the company he kept, who believed in hard work and excellence,” he said in a eulogy on Thursday night.

Pangilinan said the necrological service that TV5 hosted on Thursday night was a “salute to a man we cherish … to a man whose exceptional life was devoted to service … to a man who, by any standard, was one of the giants of our time.”

Padilla told a TV interviewer that Pangilinan, whose Metro Pacific Investments Corp. partly owns Makati Medical Center, paid for all of Dolphy’s hospital bills during his monthlong confinement.

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TAGS: Dolphy, Dolphy Interment, Dolphy obituary, Dolphy tribute, King of Comedy, National Day of Remembrance, President Benigno Aquino III, Rodolfo Vera Quizon
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