BY NEIL RAMOS
WOULD you renounce your true sexuality for money?
This is the premise of “Panti Sisters,” Black Sheep and The IdeaFirst Company’s entry to this year’s Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino, which starts its run today, Sept. 13.
Absurd as it is, the notion is not alien to most Pinoys, what with the issue concerning the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression Equality Bill (SOGIE), also known as the Anti-Discrimination Bill (ADB), now raging.
Not to say the film is a serious discourse on the matter.
In it, Martin Del Rosario, Christian Bables and Paolo Ballesteros play estranged gay siblings Daniel, Samuel and Gabriel Panti (hence the title), brought together by their dying father (John Arcilla) asking each of them for a grandchild in exchange for an extravagant inheritance.
Will they or won’t they?
We will not spoil anything. Rest assured there are many laugh-out-loud moments in the film inasmuch as these are also tons of heart-warming scenes.
Says film director Jun Robles Lana, “The ‘Panti Sisters’ is a funny story about acceptance and respect. Obviously, it’s not just for the LGBTQ community. Everybody will relate to the story.”
As good as they are playing gay roles, both Martin and Christian insist they are straight in real life.
But what if people start thinking they are actually gay?
“I know who I am,” offers Martin. “If people think I’m gay in real life okay lang. I would like to think it is so because I did a good job acting like one.”
Christian echoes the same.
“Wala akong dapat patunayan kaninuman,” he intones. “I’m an actor and as long as I like the role, que straight or gay man ‘yan, lalo na at may puso ang character, gagawin ko.”
It’s a different case for Paolo who has admitted to being actually gay.
He says, “Hindi na issue, matagal na, halata naman na sobra para itago ko pa, ‘diba?”
Concerning gay discrimination, Martin says, “I think it’s high time we learn how to respect each other no matter our sexual preference.”
Christian adds, “I believe in equality. Members of the LGBT community should have rights that straight people have, because they’re human too.”
Paolo opines, “In this day and age kailangan pa ba natin mag-talo kung ano ang gustong gender ng isang tao? Hayaan naman natin maging maligaya ang isa’t isa.”
Also starring, Carmi Martin, Rosanna Roces, Roxanne Barcelo, Via Antonio, Ali Forbes, and Joross Gamboa, “The Panti Sisters” is now screening in select cinemas nationwide.