Today, we find out that Eddie Garcia has passed away more than a week after his accident in a TV show taping.
We lost a legend, and we couldn’t help but wish he could’ve at least tangibly felt the glory of what turned out to be his last award. The veteran actor bagged the Best Actor title in the 42nd Gawad Urian for Cinemalaya film ML. Director Benedict Mique accepted the award in behalf of Eddie, who was then in a comatose state. Although we wish we heard Eddie himself deliver his acceptance speech—that would surely be wise and witty—we appreciate how his director made the most of the situation.
In his proxy acceptance speech, Benedict revealed that he requested Eddie Garcia’s family to prepare a “thank you” letter, as he was hopeful that ML‘s protagonist-antagonist would still win the Best Actor title. A teary-eyed Benedict got up the stage and started his ‘speech’ with, “Sorry po, medyo emotional ako kaagad.”
Then, it eventually progressed with what his family confidently thought Eddie would say, if he were onstage. “Natitiyak namin na hihingin ni Eddie ang inyong suporta na panoorin ang indie films na nagbibigay-pansin, karangalan at citations dito at sa ibang bansa.” More sniffles were heard in crowd as Benedict continued with, “Isipin ninyo siya nga ‘yung nakatayo rito at nakatanaw sa inyong lahat, abot-tenga ang ngiti, punumpuno ng pagmamahal para sa industriya ng pelikulang Pilipino, na kanyang pinaglingkuran ng pitungpung taon.”
Benedict concluded with thanks from Eddie’s family and thanks from him. He also took a chance to say his request to have Eddie be given a National Artist Award.
After this, the Lifetime Achievement award was given to Gloria Sevilla, another veteran actress. In her speech, she expressed her deep sorrow over what happened to Eddie—whom she considers her brother—and tells how we should all learn to handle our productions better, so as to protect our actors. This includes giving financial aid in case of emergencies. “Maybe if we file guidelines for filmmaking, siguro hindi mangyayari ang mga ito.”
Still from one of Eddie Garcia’s last films, Hintayin ng Langit (2018)