By: Marinel R. Cruz
Philippine Daily Inquirer
01:22 AM March 28th, 2016
Many are unaware that Coco Martin, aside from being the lead actor of the top-rated action drama series, “Ang Probinsiyano,” is also a part of the program’s creative team.
“As in my previous television projects, I’m very much involved here. I want to prove that actors are good, not just at working in front of the camera,” said Coco, who plays the heroic cop, Cardo, in the series.
This week, his mission is to rescue his nephew, Junior (Lei Andrei Navarro), from the hands of kidnappers who are also members of an organ-trading syndicate.
“I learned a lot from Direk Brillante Mendoza and Bing Lao,” said Coco of his director and writer, respectively, in a number of indie movies that he was part of in the early 2000s. “I observed and listened to them while at work. When I started doing projects for TV, I made sure to participate in the brainstorming sessions.”
He works hard at maintaining a good working relationship with the people on the set. “They look at me as their leader. When I have ideas, especially on how to improve the program, I share it with the production team. I’m not in favor of making just one character shine in this series. I want the program to be a showcase for a lot of talents.”
The show also features Maja Salvador, Bela Padilla, Arjo Atayde, Pepe Herrera, Agot Isidro, Albert Martinez and Susan Roces, who plays Cardo’s Lola Flora.
“We try to make episodes that are relevant to the times. We create characters that inspire and encourage the audience to do good,” Coco said in Filipino. “These heroes aren’t hard to find. They aren’t necessarily policemen like Cardo. We see them in ordinary men who are always ready to help others.”
He said he was able to relate easily to the character because “like me, Cardo came from a poor family. He worked hard to be able to fulfill his dreams, and he did this with his family in mind. I like that he is also concerned with the welfare of his community.
I consider him a hero.”
The actor also finds strength in the lola characters in all of his TV series. “This is because, in real life, I was raised not by my parents but my grandmother. I always say, my leading lady is my lola. I have one in most of the shows I was part of,” said Coco, such as “Juan dela Cruz,” where he worked with Gina Pareño as Lola Belen; “Walang Hanggan,” also with Roces as Manang Henya; and “Tayong Dalawa,” with Pareño as Lola Gets.
This week’s “Ang Probinsyano” also features Gelli de Belen, who plays a mother desperate to prolong the life of her dying son. Eric Quizon likewise appears on the show as a doctor who harvests kidneys from unwilling patients and sells them to his millionaire clients. Cardo teams up with fellow police officer Glen (Salvador) to hunt down the gang responsible for Junior’s disappearance.