After more than a year, actor Pepe Herrera said goodbye to Benny, his fan-beloved character on the hit primetime teleserye "Ang Probinsyano."
On Monday, the cop drama, which began back in September 2015, had Benny sacrificing his life for Cardo (Coco Martin), whom he owed so much to after helping him abandon his crime-riddled past. (WATCH: Benny, Cardo's main sidekick, dies in final mission)
In an interview with ABS-CBN News at the sidelines of a thanksgiving party held for the success of "The Super Parental Guardians" Tuesday, Martin said that Herrera had to exit the show as he was preparing to move out of the country with his mother.
"Honestly, si Pepe kasi aalis siya papuntang New Zealand kasama iyong mommy niya. And then iyon, nagpaalam nga siya sa amin na kung pu-puwede sana eh i-exit na siya from the show," he shared.
Martin added that Herrera had initially asked him back in December, but swayed him to stay for a few more weeks so that they can properly send off his character.
"Ang hiniling ko sa kanya noon, sabi ko 'Benny, bigyan mo lang ako ng pagkakataon. Hindi ko lang maibibigay sa iyo ngayong December pero sabi ko sa second week of January ay gagawan ko ng magandang kuwento iyong exit mo, gawin nating maayos.' "
"Ayaw ko naman na bigla ka na mawawala doon sa show. So ayun, maganda naman iyong naging reaksyon ng mga tao. Siyempre nakakalungkot dahil napakalaking parte ng 'Ang Probinsyano' pero na-deserve niya talaga iyong pinaka-best (na ending) dahil nakapagaling niyang artista at nakapasarap niyang katrabaho."
In a scene aired Monday, Benny was shown taking a bullet for Cardo. The guilt of having played a part in the assassination attempt, as he was the one who led an armed group to Cardo's hideout after being tortured into doing so, proved too much for Benny.
The following episode then showed emotions running high as many of the show's characters were shown grieving for Benny, who also endeared himself to many for providing the series' comic relief, while he was being laid to rest.
On his Instagram account, Herrera expressed his gratitude towards the cast and crew of the show. "Ang dami kong gustong pasalamatan, halikan, yakapin at awatin," he wrote.