Shabu lands actor Julio Diaz in jail
MALOLOS CITY—Actor Julio Diaz had just completed clinical rehabilitation for substance abuse that was sponsored by fellow actor and now Bulacan Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando, after he went through some tough times.
But the treatment apparently was not successful.
The 59-year-old actor (whose real name is Mariano Calonge de Leon) was arrested at dawn on Friday with 12 grams of “shabu” (crystal meth) during a drug buy-bust operation at Barangay Langka in Meycauayan City, one of a dozen overnight antidrug sweeps in Bulacan province that left 13 suspects dead.
Diaz’s driver, Ronald Gomez, 35, also was arrested after they allegedly sold a sachet of shabu to an undercover officer, said Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat.
Diaz was on the list of drug users being monitored by the Meycauayan police in 2016.
Diaz later questioned his inclusion in the list.
The police said they knew Fernando had sent Diaz to a drug rehabilitation center. But Diaz was again included in the Bulacan PNP drug watch list, which described him as a “substance abuser and a drug pusher.”
Caramat said Diaz was unarmed and was only in his underwear during the drug buy-bust.
The veteran dramatic actor starred in more than 50 films and was best known for his portrayal of the Filipino revolutionary leader Macario Sakay who fought the Americans during the Philippine-American War in Raymond Red’s acclaimed “Sakay” in 1993. He also appeared in “Flor Contemplacion Story” (1995), “Serbis” (2008) and “Kinatay” (2009).
He slowly receded from the spotlight and returned to public attention in 2016, when celebrities disclosed that he had a stroke and needed financial help. A deluge of support from both celebrities and private donors poured for Diaz’s medical treatment for brain aneurysm and hypertension.
Diaz was nominated for best actor in the Famas Awards of 1993 for his role in “Bayani” and in 1994 for his role in “Sakay.” He was also nominated for best supporting actor in the Gawad Urian Awards in 2009 for his role in” Serbis” and in 2011 for his role in “Magkakapatid.”
Diaz worked with Brillante Mendoza in the 2015 film “Taklub,” a docu-film about survivors of Supertyphoon “Yolanda.” It won the Ecumenical Jury Prize-Special Mention at the Cannes Film Festival in May that year.
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