MANILA, Philippines – One year since his passing due to a vehicular accident, actor Antonello Joseph "AJ" Sarte Perez is remembered by his family, friends and supporters.
|Late actor AJ Perez as he appeared in "Maalaala Mo Kaya"
episode "Tsinelas," his last television project
To commemorate Perez’s first death anniversary, a mass dedicated to the young actor was held at the La Salle Greenhills of Divine Child Chapel, which was followed by a gathering of his family and loved ones.
Perez was 18 years old when he was killed in a highway accident in Tarlac one year ago. He was on board a van with his father and four others when it collided with a passenger bus on his way home from a showbiz engagement in Dagupan.
While Perez may have died young, his death brought new life to two people after they were gifted with his corneas.
On the day of Perez’s burial in 2011, a corneal transplant was performed on then 8-year old Daniel delos Santos, who has since been able to recognize faces instead of only colors. Another beneficiary of Perez’s cornea donation was Lawrence Villanueva.
The goodwill of Perez’s family has since pushed the Eye Bank Foundation of the Philippines to posthumously honor the young actor by making him the foundation's poster boy.
AJ the actor
Aside from this legacy, Perez also left a lasting impression as an actor for his portrayal in “Tsinelas,” an episode of drama anthology “Maalaala Mo Kaya.”
For his last role on television, Perez was nominated under the category "Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Single Drama or Telemovie Program" at the 2011 Golden Screen TV Awards.
Before his acclaimed performance on “MMK,” Perez was part of the teen-oriented program "Abt Ur Luv" and various television series including "Lobo" and "Agua Bendita” before he earned a leading man role in primetime drama series "Sabel.”
On Sundays, he joined other Kapamilya talents on musical variety show ASAP, where he performed alongside members of boy group "Giggerboys."
Perez was born on February 17, 1993 to a Bicolana mother and Ilonggo father.