MANILA - Otso Diretso candidate Florin Hilbay on Wednesday played coy when asked if he is dating singer-actress Agot Isidro, a vocal critic of President Rodrigo Duterte.
The 44-year-old former solicitor general and 52-year-old “Changing Partners” star reportedly admitted their relationship during a sortie in Hong Kong where the pair traded pick-up lines and praises on stage.
“Wala akong inaadmit,” Hilbay told ABS-CBN News when asked to confirm his ties with Isidro.
Hilbay smiled and laughed when further pressed about the issue.
HINTS IN HONG KONG
Isidro, who hosted the Otso Diretso rally along Chater Road on March 10, did not directly tell hundreds of overseas Filipino workers that she was dating the senatorial candidate, but introduced Hilbay as someone who she enjoys being with.
“The more I get to know him, hindi lang matalino, masarap kasama, masarap kausap,” she told opposition supporters in Hong Kong.
“Cute naman ‘di ba? Medyo malayo kami ng slight sa height pero slight lang naman pero pinupuno naman ‘yun ng maraming usap, nag-eenjoy sa maraming bagay,” she said.
HOW THEY MET
Isidro said she was impressed with Hilbay’s wit the first time they met in a “gathering of progressive people.”
“Isa si Pilo sa mga pinaka-matalinong tao na nakilala ko,” Isidro said in a taped video message played during the Otso Diretso campaign launch in Naga City.
“Narinig ko siyang magsalita tungkol sa mga isyu na pinoproblema ng ating mga mamamayan, ang isyu ng gutom, trabaho, pabahay, edukasyon, pambabastos sa mga kababaihan, ang pagpatay sa ating kapwa Pilipino at iba pang karapatang pang tao,” she said.
In the same Naga rally held on the eve of Valentine’s Day, Hilbay said his only wish was to “go on a date with Agot Isidro” on February 14.
Hilbay’s hope for a Valentine’s Date with Isidro turned into reality as the former “Ang Probinsyano” actress graced the bar topnotcher’s campaign launch in his hometown Tondo.
Isidro clutched a bouquet of flowers as she sang and knelt before Hilbay atop a makeshift stage, drawing cheers and shrieks from the crowd.
“Maraming salamat kay @agot_isidro sa pagpunta! Salamat dahil pinili mo kaming makasama ngayong balentayms. Kinilig ang mga tao!!! Siyempre pinaka-kinilig ako,” Hilbay tweeted after the event.
Isidro was also expressive of how much she adored the country’s youngest solicitor general.
“Ang na-realize ko nung nagkaroon kami ng pagkakataon to get to know him deeper is Pilo is a man I can trust with all my heart and my life actually,” she said.
“Alam niyo naman kung gano ko katapang ‘di ba? Ang dami kong pinaglalaban pero masarap din ang may kasama sa laban,” she said.
SAME POLITICAL STANCE
Just like Hilbay, Isidro has been vocal about her stance against the Duterte administration. She made headlines after she called Duterte a “psychopath” for refusing to receive aid from developed countries.
Last year, the “Everyday” singer, turned down offers to run for public office under the opposition banner Hilbay is now a part of.
“Ang sarap gumawa ng pelikula. Gawa muna tayo ng pelikula. Ang sarap umarte, especially now that the landscape of filmmaking has changed so parang feeling ko, doon muna ako sa nag-e-enjoy ako. Parang hindi yata enjoy masyado ang Senado,” she said in an earlier interview.
The tandem also share a record of academic excellence.
Hilbay graduated with an Economics degree from the University of Santo Tomas before taking up law at the University of the Philippines.
He topped the 1999 Bar Examinations and proceeded to obtain his Master of Laws degree from Ivy league Yale University.
Isidro was also a UP alumna with a degree in Interior Design.
She earned her Masters in Communication diploma from the Ateneo de Manila University before graduating magna cum laude in Fashion Buying and Merchandising at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.
The singer was married to former television host Manu Sandejas for a decade before they separated between 2010 and 2011.
Hilbay, who will turn 45 next week, has never been married.
Three years ago, while applying as Supreme Court magistrate, Hilbay touted his “single blessedness” before the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) who grilled him over an essay he wrote that read: “I propose to disentangle marriage from the hold of the state by delegalizing, radically ‘disestablishing’ and ‘unbundling’ this highly popular institution.”
“That is borne out of my firm belief that what really matters is the meaning that is attached to relationships, not the legal form,” Hilbay told the JBC.
“[There is] no reason to be sad. [I] can devote my entire time to my professional work, my family, music, the arts, philosophy, so I’d like to think of myself as a very happy person,” he said.
Then-JBC chair, retired Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez told Hilbay that she hopes he would change his mind about marriage.
“I hope time will come that you will believe in the sanctity of marriage, and someday we’ll see that you have a spouse,” she told Hilbay.
Three years later, the lone bachelor candidate in the Otso Diretso slate may have changed his tune.
“Tuwing nakikita ko si Agot naiisip ko may forever. Tuwing nakikita ko si Agot naiisip ko walang pangarap na imposible,” Hilbay said in Hong Kong.