The movie industry paid its tribute to Atty. Espiridion D. Laxa on the last night of his wake on September 18 at the Heritage Park in Taguig City.
Leo Martinez and Boots Anson-Roa acted as hosts of the short program that started right after the 7 pm. mass.
Hosts Boots Anson Roa and Leo Martinez
First to speak was Tony Ferrer, the younger brother of Atty. Laxa who used to play the role of Agent X-44 Tony Falcon, our local James Bond. He thanked the people who supported them in their time of bereavement.
Tony reminisced the days when his elder brother reprimanded him. “Pumuti ang buhok ko hindi dahil sa trabaho. Ikaw ang nagpaputi ng buhok ko, Tony, kaya itigil mo na ang mga kalokohan mo.”
Tony Ferrer and Vilma Santos
Tony couldn’t control his tears when he said, “Hindi lang ako nawalan ng kapatid. Nawalan din ako ng ama.” Atty. Laxa had taken care of his siblings in the absence of their parents.
The next speaker was Rico Laxa, a cousin of Atty. Laxa. Formally attired in a black coat with a tie, Rico looked to his elder cousin as a model of demeanor. Rico is presently the General Manager of the NHA (National Housing Authority).
Maning Borlaza, Marichu Maceda and Vilma Santos
Marichu Maceda talked at length on the accomplishments of Atty. Laxa in the movie industry. “Pag may taong kakausapin, hinahatak ko siya (Atty. Laxa). Siya kasi ang pambato ko sa casting.” Manay Ichu and Atty. Laxa were the prime movers in the establishment of the Film Academy of the Philippines.
Manay Ichu also mentioned the time when Vilma Santos was having a problem with the BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue). “Inabot ng one and a half years ang pag-audit kay Vilma. Si Attorney ang taga-busisi, taga-double check ng mga figures.”
MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando also took the podium. Before handing an envelope as his donation of sympathy to the family of the late FAP chairman, BF took a one last look at the coffin. Atty. Laxa was a member of the Metro Manila Film Festival’s executive committee of which BF heads.
The children of Atty. Laxa
BF made a reference to the issue of the MMFF execom giving him a birthday gift (monetary) every year. And since the funds came from the MMFF coffers, it is now the subject of a senate committee inquiry chaired by Sen. Jinggoy Estrada. The corruption issue is being aimed at Atty. Laxa because, it seemed that, he instigated the gift-giving.
Ric Camaligan, the SVP of SM Entertainment, rectified that notion. “Hindi po si Atty. Laxa ang pasimuno ng regalo. Kami po ang talagang may idea noon,” Camaligan stressed in taking the blame away from Atty. Laxa.
Dulce rendered two songs as her love offering to the deceased. Eddie Romero also said his short piece while Lani Mercado represented Senator Bong Revilla. Lani spoke on the VRB (Video Regulation Board) era when Bong Revilla was head of it.
First to be seen that night was Vilma Santos who went straight to the coffin. She had many films with TIIP (Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions), the production outfit of Atty. Laxa. Incidentally Vilma’s latest movie, In My Life, was said to have earned 20 million on the first day of showing.
Other celebrities who attended were Eddie Garcia, Sandy Andolong who brought along the Oasis of Love choir, Caridad Sanchez who was always smiling, Ronnie Ricketts who sat at the back and Rez Cortez whose digital camera was always flashing. Marissa Delgado came a bit late.
Eddie Garcia and Direk Bert Ortega
Also lending support were film producers Wilson Tieng and Remy Monteverde, film directors Gil Portes, Mel Chionglo, Maning Borlaza and Bert Ortega. National Artist Bien Lumbera came after the mass and was followed by Mel Lopez, former mayor of Manila.
Others seen in the event were Dominic Du, president of the Motion Picture Anti-Piracy group, NCCA Executive Director Cecile Guidote Alvarez and Marikina Mayor Marides Fernando who sat beside Vilma Santos.
The tribute was spearheaded by Boots Anson Roa for Mowelfund and Leo Martinez for the Film Academy, both bodies have Atty. Laxa as chairman. Other organizations that sponsored the event were the Film Development Council of the Philippines and the Anti-Film Piracy Council whose board included Atty. Laxa as member.
The Film Academy delegation was headed by Director General Leo Martinez and guild presidents Manny Morfe, Josefino Cenizal, Gani Sioson, Rolly Ruta and Joel Apuyan and the FAP website editor Jose Carreon.
Atty. Laxa was interred on Saturday, September 19, 2009 after the 9:00 am mass.
From the report of Alex J. Socorro.
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