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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Feb 12, 2017

Janine Gutierrez Trains With Real Lawyers & Real Blind People For Her Demanding Role As A Blind Lawyer In 'Legally Blind' That Starts Airing On February 20

JANINE GUTIERREZ is so thankful that GMA-7 gave her the lead role of Grace Evangelista in the new afternoon soap, “Legally Blind”. “It’s one of the most demanding roles any actress can portray at talagang napaka-unique ng concept ng story,” she says. “Law student ako rito na, sa isang party, nilagyan ng drugs ang drinks ko at ni-rape ako. When I tried to escape, naaksidente naman ako, tapos hinulog pa ako sa bangin and I become legally blind. Pero sa kabila ng naging kapansanan ko, itinuloy ko pa rin ang career ko hanggang maging ganap akong abogadang tumutulong sa mahihirap.”

She prepared hard for the role. “I trained with real lawyers para malaman ang culture nila and then I also stayed with blind people sa school for the blind para maramdaman ko how it really feels to lose your eyesight. Malaki rin ang tulong sa akin ng director namin who guides me each taping day, si Tito Ricky Davao, na relative ko talaga kasi his wife, Tita Jackielou is the sister of my dad (Ramon Christopher).”

Ricky also plays her dad in the story, who was imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit so she studied hard to finish law to defend him. Her mom is played by Chanda Romero, with Lauren Young and Therese Malvar as her two younger sisters. Rodjun Cruz plays her boyfriend who she dumps when she sees him kissing Lauren. Mikael Daez later becomes her leading man without knowing that he is the brother of her rapist, Marc Abaya. Also in the cast are Petra Mahalimuyak (now known as Ashley Rivera) as Janine’s best friend, Camille Torres as Mikael’s first girlfriend who’s trying to win
him back and Lucho Ayala as Mikael’s best friend.

Janine is so totally involved with her role and the show she decided not to entertain any suitors while she’s doing “Legally Blind”. “Ayoko munang mag-boyfriend. Before when I hear actresses say that, parang fake ang dating sa akin, but it turned out totoo pala.”

Was she traumatized by her last relationship, with Elmo Magalona? “No, he has nothing to do with my decision. Ako kasi, bukod sa ‘Legally Blind’, I’m now also hosting ‘Day Off’ with Ken Chan sa GMA News TV so sobrang busy talaga ako. At saka, sobrang nakapag-move on na ako from that. Masaya naman maging single. Basta sa ngayon, nakakontrata ako sa sarili ko lang. Wala akong ibang pagkakaabalahan this year kundi trabaho lang. Happy ako being focused on my work.”

Janine now also lives alone in her own condo unit in Greenhills. “I want to be independent but it’s not easy pala kasi you have to be responsible in managing your own house, lalo na in managing your finances. Minsan, nakalimutan kong magbayad ng ilaw, buti di ako naputulan ng kuryente. But it gives me a certain satisfaction na galing ang lahat from my own earnings. The unit was bare when I got it and I had a personal say sa lahat ng ginawa ng loob nito. So nakakatuwang tingnan, parang personal fulfillment talaga para sa akin.”