The star of Ang Probinsyano with his leading lady
Coco Martin with Maja Salvador.

By Ricky Calderon

“We have a lot of beautiful old Tagalog movies before; these are thought-provoking and have very good stories.“

Teleserye King Coco Martin considers it a big honor to be doing a TV adaptation of one of the late Fernando Poe, Jr.’s popular movies, Ang Probinsiyano. The said movie was so successful that it even had a sequel, Ang Pagbabalik ng Probinsiyano. Coco reveals that he watched many FPJ movies as a child because his grandmother, who took care of him, is a big fan of the king, and she takes him each time she watches an FPJ film. As a fan, Coco feels sad that he didn’t have the chance to meet FPJ in person.

The icon died on the first shooting day of Coco’s debut film, Masahista. Coco believes that if he had the opportunity to meet FPJ in the flesh, and probably worked with him, he would surely learn a lot from him. “I don’t see him just as an actor, but as a super hero as well,” says the award-winning Kapamilya actor. “I know it would be hard for me to surpass or even duplicate what FPJ has done, but I owe it to him to give my best so that the project will come out well,” he adds. The idea to do Ang Probinsiyano came about when Coco and Ms. Charo Santos, the head of ABS-CBN, talked about doing a new project. It was the lady boss who thought of doing a series that would pay tribute to the police force.

It was then Coco thought of Ang Probinsiyano where FPJ played a police officer. “I remember that movie because FPJ played a dual role, and both characters were police officers. We watched the movie and we saw the potential of the story and even more interesting as a teleserye,” he relates. “And to make the story more attractive, we added more characters. I only not play twins here but also four characters because I played other characters disguised as another person,” Coco reveals. Before they started taping, Coco and the rest of the cast and crew went training in the Police Academy. It was like a boot camp for one week. Whatever a neophyte police go through during training, Coco and his co-stars also went through with it. “Our objective is to uplift the image of the police. What is happening now is that only bad things about the police are the ones that are normally focused. I want to bring the trust and confidence of the people in the police. They should not be feared but rather should be respected,” says Coco.

Doing this series became an eye-opener for Coco. He rues that cops have a meager salary and not enough for a job one has to risk. “Most of the time, they even shell out their own money for the gasoline. We hope that the government will increase the salary of our police officers,” he stresses . Coco also dreams of playing Panday, a role originally played by FPJ, as well, and became one of the box-office hits in the annual Metro Manila Film Festival. He believes that it is every actor’s dream to portray Panday, a mark of Pinoy superhero. Bong Revilla, Jr. and Jericho Rosales have portrayed Panday in the past. Aside from Panday, he also wants to do a remake of other FPJ movies, such as, Asedillo and Durugin si Totoy Bato. He hopes that the TV adaptation of Ang Probinsiyano will be the start of remaking old, but great films. “I hope that we can use the stories of these old movies as inspiration for our remakes so that the young people of today can see how beautiful our movies before,” he tells. Ang Probinsiyano” is a partnership of FPJ Productions and Dreamscape Entertainment, directed by Malu Sevilla and Avel Sunpongco. Also in the powerhouse cast are Maja Salvador and Bela Padilla (as his leading ladies), Susan Roces (as the lola), Albert Martinez, Agot Isidro, Arjo Atayde, Jaime Fabregas, Jao Mapa, Ramon Christopher, and Baron Geisler.

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