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Rep. Vilma’s very first job in Congress

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JUST A THOUGHT: “Success isn’t about how much money you make. It’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.” – Michelle Obama

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CATCHING UP WITH REP. VILMA: It has been a while since Lipa City Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto met up with friends from the entertainment press.

An opportunity came recently when the durable actress-public servant took time off from her legislative work to indulge in her other pastime, which is to catch up with entertainment folk.

The way I see it, Rep Vi misses showbiz work a lot that she would welcome any temporary diversion from all those stacks of paper work piling up on her congressional desk.

“This new job of mine requires a lot of studying and learning. I have to focus so I won’t miss out and look stupid,’’ she told us frankly.

Rep Vi said the work of a legislator is so much more complex than that of a mayor or governor, posts which she successfully hurdled in Lipa and the province of Batangas, respectively, for a total of 18 years.

Local positions, she said, are more on the administrative side. “Para lang akong nanay na may full control sa kanyang teritoryo.”

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NO TO HIGHER POSITIONS: Rep Vi downplayed any more higher position after Congress. ‘’Who knows, I might retire from politics after this, and turn back to movies,’ she wondered.

She said she wants to produce, not necessarily star in, indie films. In 2013, the multi-awarded actress starred in her first indie film, Ekstra, which won several local and international awards.

She keeps an eye on modern indies, viewing them in the comfort of her home. She rattled off some titles, adding that she’s impressed by the talent and artistry of today’s young filmmakers and actors.

In the near future, she wants to work with names like Brillante Mendoza and Lav Diaz. There had been some offers from the two directors in the past, but none of them came through due to conflicts in schedule. She was aghast when told how long a regular Lav Diaz film could run, say from four to 12 hours.

Ever wise and pragmatic, Rep Vi said she does not want to work herself to the max until she would drop.

“I don’t want to work and work, save and save and then end up spending all your money on hospital bills.’

“I want to enjoy my life, travel while I still can.’’

Rep Vi is turning 64 this year.

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MISSING ACTING: “My first job at Congress is as model in picture-taking. It was often embarrassing as colleagues would request if I could pose with their visitors from faraway places, like Tawi-Tawi. So, there I was, posing for cameras right there at the gallery while the session was going on. Nakakahiya.”

Rep Vi said she actually welcomed such invites for on-the-spot pictorials. “As an actor, I should be more worried if people wouldn’t care.”

She admitted she does miss acting, in the blood.

She was saddened that she couldn’t accept Mike de Leon’s offer for her to lead the cast in a family drama based on the life of the director’s mother, Dona Sisang (Narcissa de Leon).

“Mike told me he wanted it to be his last film at age 70.”

She couldn’t say yes as she had just been newly elected congressman.

“I have to learn a lot of things first.”

The film has been shelved. Maybe, it’s waiting for Vilma Santos’ availability.

Meanwhile Mike has been shooting another political film, Citizen Jake, with broadcaster Atom Araullo playing the titular character of a TV journalist.

De Leon directed Vilma in Sister Stella L., a landmark film known for its strong political statement.

Vilma said, “I seriously hope to work with Mike again.” (NESTOR CUARTERO)