Janno Gibbs on dad Ronaldo Valdez starring in his directorial debut

Emotional Janno Gibbs on dad Ronaldo Valdez starring in his directorial debut

By: - Reporter
/ 12:15 AM January 19, 2024

Emotional Janno Gibbs on dad Ronaldo Valdez starring in his directorial debut

Ronaldo Valdez (L) and Janno Gibbs | PHOTO: IG/@jannolategibbs

While some people think that it’s too soon for Janno Gibbs to be releasing the last movie he did with the late Ronaldo Valdez, the singer-actor believes otherwise, saying that there’s no better time to put it out than now—if only to remind everyone of the spirit and brilliance his father exuded onscreen.

“Is it too soon to release the movie after what happened? I believe this is the perfect time to do so. Because—sorry, I don’t want to cry—the last image people saw of my father wasn’t nice. So, hopefully, this [movie] erases that and allows people to see him again in all his glory,” he told reporters at a recent press conference for his upcoming comedy flick, “Itutumba Ka ng Tatay Ko.”


Shortly after Valdez’s death on Dec. 17, 2023, a graphic footage showing the veteran actor’s body at his home—recorded by first responders from the Quezon City Police District (QCPD)—leaked online and subsequently spread on social media.


At a previous press conference, Janno demanded a public apology from the QCPD for its “mismanagement of the investigation” and “mishandling of sensitive data.” The “lapses” and “reckless actions,” he was quoted as saying, caused his family “trauma” and “immense emotional distress.”

Soon after making his pleas, Janno received a call from QCPD chief Federico Maranan who personally apologized to him. “To be fair, after that, Brig. Gen. Maranan called me right away and told me that he saw the press conference and apologized to me,” Janno told reporters. “He said, ‘What happened was wrong. Don’t worry, I will issue a press release.’ And it sounded sincere.”

Best comfort

Hearing that, Janno said, helped take the edge off the pain he was feeling. “I’m good. It’s good that I had already gotten the not-so-good details out of the way. I didn’t want to be at this press con with sadness and anger in me … I’m glad I get to promote our movie on a lighter note,” he said. That said, Janno feels nowhere near healed. In this trying period in his and his family’s lives, they turn to each other for relief. “We’re still in the process. I have yet to recover. Family is the best comfort. Right now we can’t be left alone; we seek each other out for support, ” he said. It’s for this reason, Janno said, that the family decided to push through with their scheduled Japan trip—even at the risk of being criticized on social media.

We got bashed. People were saying, ‘Bakit nagsasaya after?’ Actually, one of the kids said that maybe we shouldn’t go. I said, “No, all the more reason for us to go—just to breathe a little and get away from all the noise,” he related. “But there were also those who understood. Like one commenter said, “We all have our own way of grieving.” Produced by Viva Films, “Itutumba Ka ng Tatay Ko” is Janno’s directorial debut. And he couldn’t be more grateful that his father agreed to be part of it. “He had been living with me for almost a year. He was there from the start of the conceptualization to the whole process.”

“He was really proud of me,” Janno said.

Emotional Janno Gibbs on dad Ronaldo Valdez starring in his directorial debut

Janno Gibbs (L) and Ronaldo Valdez | PHOTO: IG/@jannolategibbs

Protective father

In “Itutumba,” which opens in theaters on Jan. 24, Janno plays Teng, a kind, hardworking, but cowardly father who can’t defend his daughter, Tin (Xia Vigor), or successfully pursue the woman he likes. But one night, Tin hears her father screaming in his room. And for some mysterious reason, Teng emerges the next morning a changed man—as if he has turned into an action star. Valdez, on the other hand, practically played himself as Teng’s protective father. “If you knew my dad, you would know he wouldn’t hesitate to defend me,” he said. “His role suited him well. It was tailor-made for him. And I wouldn’t have had it any other way.”


Working with his father was an experience Janno will always cherish. He particularly loves the action scenes they did together; the way Valdez complimented his script on the set. “Medyo pinahirapan ko siya, technically!” he said, laughing. “But we had fun. We had photos on the set and you could see that we were really happy.”

“Itutumba” was one of the last movies Valdez shot prior to his death.

“There was also this one instance where I had to rewrite the script. After working on it, I had it sent to my dad. He arrived on the set saying, ‘Sinong magaling ang nagsulat ng dialogue na ’to? Ganda, eh,’” Janno related while impersonating Ronaldo’s distinct demeanor and mannerism.”

“Kinilig ako ‘dun!” Janno added.

Needless to say, the movie will always be precious to him. “It’s the best parting gift I could give my dad,” he said. “One of the things that stood out for me when I was a kid was that he always gave me a chance to explain why I did what I did,” he related. “I was given a voice and was allowed to reason out. And that’s something that stayed with me while raising my own kids.”

Sweetest dad

(From left) Janno Gibbs, Ronaldo Valdez. Image: Instagram/@jannolategibbs

(From left) Janno Gibbs, Ronaldo Valdez. Image: Instagram/@jannolategibbs

He described Valdez as “the sweetest dad.” “Even if we were already adults, nagbe-beso pa rin kami sa isa’t isa. We hugged each other and said ‘I love you’ to each other.”

Directing a movie was a long time coming for Janno. “Mahilig na ako makialam noon pa. I was always like, ‘P’wede ba ’to, direk,’” he said. “However, it wasn’t until recently that I gained the courage—and opportunity—to do it,” he said.

Janno doesn’t have lofty goals as a director. He’s not out to create artsy, award-winning films. He just wants to entertain. “There are already a lot of directors who specialize in drama, horror and others. My goal is simple. I just want to make people happy,” he said. “I just want to direct and focus on straight-up comedy.”

All things considered, Janno is happy with how the film turned out. But he’s realistic enough to admit that he still needs help and has a long way to go. “I had an associate director, Julius Alfonso. I would ask him if what I did was good, if I was still lacking some shots. He would tell me if there was something I hadn’t done yet,” he said.

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“Marami pa akong kakaining bigas. I had my share of frustrations. But as a first-timer, I’m happy with the outcome,” Janno said.

TAGS: Janno Gibbs, Ronaldo Valdez

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