‘Bad Boy’ Actor On The Lam
MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ In what seems like a script from his movies, one of the Philippines’ best known action stars is on the lam _ he vanished two weeks ago to avoid going to prison for an illegal weapons conviction.
Robin ``Bad Boy″ Padilla was sentenced in April 1994 to 17 to 21 years in prison after rifles were found in his van in Angeles City.
On July 24, the Court of Appeals upheld the conviction and ordered him to begin serving the sentence.
But the 26-year-old Padilla, said to fear for his safety, has refused to surrender. Searches of his various homes and hangouts in Manila and Nueva Ecija province have failed to turn up the actor.
The fact that police cannot seem to locate one of the country’s best known faces has become the source of considerable embarrassment.
On Wednesday, President Fidel Ramos demanded Padilla turn himself in immediately and said that if he resists arrest, police are free to shoot him.
``There are certain rules of engagement,″ Ramos said. ``This is to fire below the belt, meaning aim at the feet or at the knees to immobilize him. If he is holding a weapon, aim for the weapon. But if he is pointing a weapon at you, then you can fire back at him in self defense.″
The drama is the latest chapter in the tumultuous life of Padilla, who has portrayed young street toughs in a series of Tagalog language films.
He is the illegitimate son of Roy Padilla, a former provincial governor who was murdered on the eve of regional elections in 1988. His killers remain at large.
The young Padilla carried on a highly publicized romance with Kris Aquino, much to the distress of her mother, former President Corazon Aquino, who made no secret of her dislike for the rebellious young actor.
Padilla was one of the few entertainers who supported Ramos in the 1992 presidential elections, appearing with Kris Aquino at campaign rallies. He ran unsuccessfully for vice governor of Nueva Ecija province last May.
Interior Secretary Rafael Alunan said Padilla should not expect any favors from the administration despite his support of Ramos.
``He should be man enough to face the music and come out of hiding,″ Alunan said.
The police are not the only ones anxious to see Padilla behind bars.
Vicente Vinarao, director of the Bureau of Corrections, said inmates were eager to see Padilla because they were some of his biggest fans.
A group of Christian inmates at the national penitentiary even offered to accept Padilla as a cellmate to protect him against physical attacks.