MANILA -- (UPDATE) Award-winning actor Arjo Atayde filed his certificate of candidacy on Friday for Quezon City's 1st congressional district seat in the 2022 elections.
Atayde is running as an independent candidate.
He filed his COC at the Comelec NCR office in Intramuros, Manila. He was accompanied by his parents, businessman Art Atayde and actress Sylvia Sanchez, and Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte.
The 30-year-old political first-timer said his experience during the COVID-19 pandemic convinced him of the need to try his hand at public office.
"Itong pandemya, ang dami kong na-realize na mga bagay-bagay, and this time I have to act not as an actor but I have to act bilang serbisyo sa ating mga taga-distrito uno,” he told reporters.
(This pandemic made me realize a lot of things.... I have to act as a person that could provide service to the people of District 1)
He added that he has been exposed to politics, having relatives in elected posts.
"If I told you right now that I had interest in running for politics since I was in high school, no one would believe, kasi ‘di ba ngayon lang talaga ako nagpakita (I just showed it now)" he explained.
"The COVID situation has really pushed me to the limit of going for it. Because sabi ko nga, kailan at paano? (when and how)"
He added that the public deserves leaders who are sincere with public service.
"Pero this time, you know, given reality, I think more than dreams, more than the knowledge, we need leaders who have dignity, the heart, malasakit sa kapwa (compassion to the public). ‘Yon po talaga ang importante (that is what's important) and that’s what everyone needs to do.”
Atayde added his girlfriend, actress Maine Mendoza, is fully behind his decision to go into politics.
“Magulo po itong pinapasok natin (what we entered into is chaotic), and I’m just very happy that I have a supportive girlfriend."
Asked why he did not join a party, Atayde said he wanted to prioritize improving his district. He added though, that he was willing to work with officials across different parties.
He will be running against reelectionist Rep. Anthony Peter “Onyx” Crisologo, who is part of an entrenched political clan in Quezon City.
Belmonte, of local party Serbisyong Bayan, said she is fully behind Atayde’s run but was surprised about learning the actor’s interest.
She said Atayde's sincerity would win voters.
The actor called himself part of a “new generation” of Filipinos in public service who “just want better governance, better way of handling things, more efficient, and more fair.”
"Ang gusto lang natin tapat na serbisyo, there shouldn’t be — I’m sorry — mga hocus pocus, just be focused on serbisyo because at the end of the day, pantay-pantay tayo and we all deserve help. Everyone deserves help,” he said.
(We just want honest service. We all deserve help)
"I’m coming in with a clear mind, clean hands. I just want to give them what they deserve, kasi kaya kong magserbisyo nang tapat at totoo (I can serve honestly). I hate corruption. I hate it."
Atayde was the first Filipino to win Best Actor at the 3rd Asian Academy Creative Awards for his role in the iWantTFC original series "Bagman."
He renewed his contract with ABS-CBN last February.
Last June, Atayde donated service vehicles to Quezon City.