Veloso to Erap: Governing not about good looks

Jerald Uy

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Manila's top councilor and re-electionist Mayor Alfredo Lim's running mate says it will be difficult to govern if the mayor and vice mayor are not on the same side

'I KNOW THE JOB.' Lou Veloso, candidate for vice mayor of Manila, has done local legislative work as councilor for 15 years. Photo by Jerald Uy

MANILA, Philippines – Actor and Manila Councilor Luciano “Lou” Veloso hit back at former president Joseph Estrada’s pronouncement that re-electionist Vice Mayor Isko Moreno is better looking than Veloso.

Estrada is running for mayor of the capital city, with Moreno as running mate. His rival, re-electionist Mayor Alfredo Lim, has enlisted Veloso as running mate.

Hindi importante ‘yun. ‘Yun ba ay sagot ng mga edukadong tao? (Looks are not important. Is that how educated people talk?),” Veloso told Rappler on Tuesday night, February 26, during the premiere of Alfredo S. Lim: The Untold Story, the 4th biopic about the mayor.

“Hindi mo naman madya-judge ang kakayahan ng tao sa panlabas na hitsura (You can’t judge a person’s skills by how he looks),” he said. 

But he quickly made a jest: “Kaya nga nagpakabait na ako. Kung ‘di ka na nga guwapo, tarantado ka pa, sino pa’ng magtitiwala sa ‘yo? (That’s why I’m trying to be good. If you’re already ugly and you have a bad personality, who else would trust you?)” Veloso said, alluding to a monologue he popularized as Mr. Truman in a TV show many years ago.

Political stage

Veloso also made a cameo role as former Manila Mayor Antonio Villegas in Lim’s biopic, which is seen by critics as a propaganda vehicle for the tandem in time for the local campaign, which starts March 29. Last year, Veloso appeared as a fisherman in Bourne Legacy, which stars Hollywood actor Jeremy Renner.

He said being a thespian has given him a clear understanding of the struggles of ordinary people.

’Sinasalaysay ko ang buhay. Nalaman ko na dapat hindi ka maghahangad ng mas marami para sa ‘yo (I tell stories about life. I learned that you should not want more than what others get),” he said.

Running against a fellow actor, Veloso pointed to his good track record as a councilor for 15 years. “‘Di na bago ‘yung kaalaman dahil legislative naman ang trabaho namin (I know the job, we’ve been doing legislative work),” he said.

Veloso got the highest number of votes among candidates for councilor in the 2010 elections. This gave him the privilege to preside council meetings whenever the vice mayor was away.

If elected, the laboratory technician graduate of University of the Philippines-Manila aims to prioritize ordinances and projects focusing on vocational courses, employment, and health.


Trusted ally

Veloso revealed that he was second choice as running mate of Lim. Actor and director Cesar Montano was supposed to run as the Liberal Party’s bet for vice mayor, but he was busy with the movie. “The next day, in-announce na, ‘Lou, ikaw na’ (They announced, ‘Lou, we’re fielding you’), ” he recalled.

What made him say yes? 

Mahirap sa gobyerno na nagtutunggali ang vice mayor at mayor. (It will be difficult for a local government unit to have a mayor and vice mayor on opposing sides.) Mayor Lim needs a person he can trust,” Veloso said.

He added that he admires Lim’s work ethics. “Nakita ko ang trabaho niya, istrikto at disiplinado, pero maayos ang pamamalakad. Alam ko nailahad na ni Mayor ang kanyang nagawa at gagawin pa. ‘Yung sa kabila, hindi ko alam. (I’ve seen how he works—he’s strict and disciplined and has governed the city well. The mayor has shown what he has done and will do for the city. I have no idea what the the other camp intends to do).” –

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