Showbiz Roundup: Ronaldo Valdez's 'behavior' before his death

Showbiz Roundup: Ronaldo Valdez before death, Diana Zubiri, Sherwin Gatchalian, Bianca Manalo

/ 11:32 AM December 31, 2023

(From left) Ronaldo Valdez, Diana Zubiri, Sherwin Gatchalian, Bianca Manalo. Images: FILE PHOTOS

(From left) Ronaldo Valdez, Diana Zubiri, Sherwin Gatchalian, Bianca Manalo. Images: FILE PHOTOS

The anguish following the loss of Ronaldo Valdez continues to be felt by the entertainment industry, with former leading lady Boots Anson Roa-Rodrigo sharing how the screen veteran had a “notable difference” in his behavior prior to his death.

Diana Zubiri also caught the attention of showbiz watchers on the third week of December after revealing that she was snubbed at a Louis Vuitton store in Australia, while Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian remained committed in his love for girlfriend Bianca Manalo amid the alleged leaked conversations she had with “Magandang Dilag” co-star Rob Gomez.


Meanwhile, Pokwang emerged victorious in her legal battle against estranged partner Lee O’Brian, who was ordered deported by the Bureau of Immigration (BI); however, the latter has yet to make a statement about the matter.


In another instance, the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) committee firmly denied the allegations surrounding the first-day box office tally circulating on social media, saying it’s a breach of their responsibilities.

All these and more, as we look back at’s biggest entertainment news on the week of Dec. 22 to 28.

Ronaldo Valdez’s ‘notable difference’ before death



More than the physical pain he was feeling, the late Ronaldo Valdez’s failure to save his marriage was what made him sink deeper into a pit of depression, said friend Boots Anson-Rodrigo, who had worked with Valdez since as far back as the 1970s.

Valdez, who passed away on Dec. 17, reportedly began suffering from depression since undergoing prostate cancer surgery in December 2022. The Quezon City Police District launched a comprehensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death.

“I think this had to do with his personal life. I don’t know if it’s common knowledge that his marriage broke up some three years ago. I never asked him the reason why, but of course, I know that this had an effect on him. Janno is in his 50s now, so that means they’ve been together for over 50 years,” Rodrigo recalled.

Rodrigo was Valdez’s leading lady in his last movie, Rechie del Carmen’s “Ikaw at Ako,” which also features Paolo Contis and Rhian Ramos. In the film, she plays a woman with Alzheimer’s disease. Valdez promises to take care of her until the end.


“On the set, I noticed that he already had a hard time walking. He used a cane and needed assistance to move around. More than the physical pain, I noticed that he was sad. Yes, he would still joke around, but there was a notable difference [in his behavior],” Rodrigo said. “Once, when we were rehearsing, he told me, ‘Mare, masakit dito,’ while pointing to his heart. Whatever he was going through emotionally had a big impact on him. I felt too shy to ask him about it.”

Rodrigo said that while she was aware that Valdez had a heart condition, he only mentioned in passing to her about his prostate cancer operation in 2022. “I just noticed that it was too painful for him to walk straight. It was kind of perfect for our scenes because we were portraying an old couple, but when the director would shout, Cut!’ I could still see his pained expression. But what was more noticeable to me was the sadness. I could feel the sadness. Ron had always been iyakin, but he cried so much while doing this one.”

Rodrigo said the film and its topics sort of foreshadowed Valdez’s own mental health issue. “Even before the premiere, I was telling our director to book screenings and tie up with the Mental Health Association or the Department of Health. Now, they have two angles already, one about my character dealing with Alzhiemer’s and then Ron’s real story in which depression played a very significant part and eventually led to his death,” she added.

In another film, “Ang Pag-ibig Ko’y Huwag Mong Sukatin,” Valdez pranked Rodrigo once again. “We were doing a heavy crying scene. The camera was on me and this was an over-the-shoulder shot. He was making silly faces while I was crying!”

The last one was while doing the movie “May Minamahal,” which also featured Aga Muhlach and Aiko Melendez.

Rodrigo will appear with Valdez in a still unreleased movie, Prime Cruz’s esports film “GG,” which also stars Donnie Pangilinan.

Diana Zubiri snubbed at Louis Vuitton store

Diana Zubiri reveals getting snubbed at Louis Vuitton store in Australia Diana Zubiri | Image: @dianazubirismith

Diana Zubiri | Image: @dianazubirismith

Diana Zubiri is the latest Filipino celebrity to be given shabby treatment by employees of a luxury store abroad, an incident that left her dismayed.

Her experience at the Louis Vuitton store in Australia earned a vlog entry where she discussed how she and her mother-in-law were snubbed by the store’s staff, who appeared to scoff at her and her companion’s simple outfits.

“Nakapang-workout gear lang ako tapos ‘yung mother-in-law ko rin hindi masyado, alam mo na, typical na Australian, simple lang ‘yung damit. So pumasok kami sa store na ‘to, nagtanong kami, nag-inquire kami magkano kasi walang presyo, tapos hindi kami pinapansin,” she recalled.

“Tapos ‘yung pangawalang tanong namin, sabi, ‘You wait for your turn until may bakante, ganyan.’ Naintindihan naman namin pero sana maayos lang ‘yung pagkakasabi kasi it’s not maayos… na parang hindi sila interesado samin kasi ganon lang ‘yung itchura namin. Ganon ‘yung na-feel ko,” she added.

Zubiri said she was expecting a more friendly treatment and, not receiving it, ended up walking away from the store. “Pwede naman sabihin ‘We’re not available yet,’ kasi kulang talaga sa tao kumbaga parang ang ini-expect ko lang na sabihin, ‘One moment please,’ basta maayos, basta pleasant so nag-walk out na lang kami.”

However, the next day, the actress decided to return to the luxury store, dressed more nicely than before. According to her, “the service was much better, they hope next time it will be the same.”

‘No fake news will divide us’

Sherwin Gatchalian's Christmas gift to Bianca Manalo: ‘I’ll always be by your side’ Bianca Manalo

Sherwin Gatchalian and Bianca Manalo. Image: Instagram/@biancamanalo

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian stressed that “no fake news” will divide him and actress-beauty queen Bianca Manalo whose alleged conversations with actor Rob Gomez were earlier leaked on social media.

Gatchalian, who previously refused to comment on the issue, opted to address the matter with a brief statement via his personal Instagram page last Dec. 23.

“Bianca and I share the same values and principles in life. No fake news will divide us apart,” he said, showing two framed photos of them which were gifted by his fellow senator Sonny Angara and his wife.

In a previous post, Gatchalian also expressed fondness for his and Manalo’s pet dogs, who are staying with their house helper while their “mommy,” the actress, is in Japan with her family.

Manalo and Gomez worked together in the GMA series “Magandang Dilag.” In the conversation screenshots that were shared and later taken down from the actor’s social media accounts, Manalo was apparently asking Gomez to meet with her.

The actress later explained that she was going to meet with Gomez to receive the actor’s Christmas gift to her. She further asserted that parts of their conversation were deleted “to create malicious insinuations.”

Meanwhile, also included in Gomez’s alleged leaked conversations was those with actress-beauty queen Herlene Budol. The pair’s exchange included remarks implying a sexual relationship. Budol has since spoken against the “made-up issues” about her.

Lee O’Brian ordered deported

Pokwang’s ex Lee O'Brian ordered deported by Bureau of ImmigrationLee O'Brian

Lee O’Brian and Pokwang. Image: Instagram/@leeobrian, @itspokwang27

Lee O’Brian, estranged partner of actress-comedian Pokwang and father of her daughter Malia, has been ordered deported by the Bureau of Immigration for violating his work visa.

In an eight-page resolution dated Dec. 12, the BI ordered O’Brian’s deportation following a case filed by Pokwang, whose real name is Marietta Subong, last June. A native of San Francisco in California, O’Brian moved to the Philippines in 2015 to pursue his acting career.

Pokwang, in her complaint, said O’Brian merely kept on renewing his tourist visa although his real purpose in the country, according to her, was not to be a tourist but for employment.

“We thank the Bureau of Immigration for siding with the truth in our case against Lee O’Brian,” said Rafael Vicente Calinisan, Pokwang’s legal counsel, in a statement.

“We have been consistent that Lee O’Brian must be made accountable, as his repeated renewal of his tourist visa constitutes fraud and willful misrepresentation of facts, while his work engagements are violations of limitations under which he was admitted as a non-immigrant,” he added.

The deportation order against O’Brian came after Pokwang recently allowed him to visit and spend time with their daughter again.

Pokwang said she welcomed this development as it’s important for her to see her daughter happy being with her father.

MMFF denies initial box office tally

The films of the 2023 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).

The films of the 2023 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).

The Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) committee denied an art card circulating on social media about the initial box-office tally of participating films in the festival’s first day.

An art card posted by the Facebook page Pinoy History claimed that the MMFF entries “Rewind” (P110 million), “Mallari” (P31 million), and “Penduko” (P25 million) generated the most ticket sales last Dec. 25, the first day of the entry films’ showing.

Meanwhile, the films that supposedly followed were “A Family of Two” (P12.5 million), “Firefly” (P11.1 million), “When I Met You in Tokyo” (P10.1 million), “K(ampon)” (P5 million), “Becky & Badette” (P3.3 million), “GomBurZa” (P1.4 million), and “Broken Heart’s Trip” (P680,000).

MMFF spokesperson Noel Ferrer, in a text message to, likewise denied the figures shown in the alleged box-office rankings, stressing that it’s “not true at all.”

“Not true at all. It has been the MMFF Execom’s practice not to release any unofficial gross sales of individual films and rankings. Let all the films flourish and enjoy the support of as many Filipino audience as possible without the misleading numbers,” he said.

Ferrer also asserted that it’s not the practice of the MMFF committee to release the “official gross report” of box-office sales on social media, especially when it comes to “individual films [and] rankings.”

“Huwag ho tayong padadala sa kung anu-anong box-office results at rankings. Hindi po gawi ng MMFF Execom na maglabas ng official gross report ng individual films at rankings,” he said.

“Hayaan po nating tangkilikin ang mga pelikula based on their merits and audience preference at hindi dahil sa trend at mind conditioning ng mga pinalalabas na ranking na hindi po official (lalo pa’t magkakalapit ang mga numero ng maraming pelikula). Ituloy po natin ang pagsuporta sa pelikulang Filipino at sa Metro Manila Film Festival,” he added.

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On the other hand, the administrators of Pinoy History announced that they took down their post and fired those responsible for spreading false information about the film festival.

TAGS: 2023 MMFF, Bianca Manalo, Diana Zubiri, Lee O'Brian, Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), Pokwang, Ronaldo Valdez, Sherwin Gatchalian

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