MANILA — In a twist that marks the return of a lead actor in “Kadenang Ginto” eight months since his departure, Albert Martinez’s character Robert Mondragon was revealed Wednesday to have been alive all along, after his apparent death in a helicopter crash.
In the October 9 episode of the top-rating afternoon drama, the Mondragon heiresses caught televised news of a man who escaped captivity from pirates.
The details of the rescue, including the location and time frame (one year in the story), matched the tragic death of Robert, sparking hope in Romina (Beauty Gonzalez) and Daniela (Dimples Romana) that the man they have long thought dead actually survived.
However, the man, who was recovering in the hospital, turned out to be a Chinese national whose age merely approximated Robert’s.
Coming face-to-face with the man dashed any hope that Robert was alive — until Leon (Richard Yap), who is half Chinese, bridged the language barrier and confirmed with the survivor that he wasn’t alone.
Leon showed a photo of Robert, prompting an enthusiastic reaction from the Chinese survivor. They were both held captive at sea, he said.
Leon’s discovery was in the absence of the feuding Mondragon women, but his secret loyalty to Romina would prove beneficial to the widow, in her race against Daniela to find out the truth about Robert.
Prior to his apparent death, which aired in February 2019, Robert was on the verge of confessing a secret to Romina.
Recent weeks of “Kadenang Ginto” have been unspooling the complicated histories of the Mondragon heiresses. Daniela and Cassie (Francine Diaz) have long been thought to be the respective biological and adopted daughters of Robert — but new revelations hint that the identities are the other way around.
Romina remains in denial that Robert, her late husband, may have been her unknown assailant that resulted in Cassie’s birth, despite evidence pointing to that.
To rest her doubt — or confirm her worst fear — Romina has asked Daniela to cooperate in a DNA test and see if Cassie is her biological sister. Daniela’s hesitance, however, appears less rooted in her feud with Romina, but more in the panic of a long hidden truth being uncovered.
Martinez’s return to “Kadenang Ginto” came mere days after the conclusion of the primetime series “The General’s Daughter,” where he played the titular military officer.
Martinez, in fact, at one point had overlapping roles in the two Dreamscape producitons, until his onscreen death in the afternoon soap gave way for his other lead portrayal in the action series.
With the recent ending of “The General’s Daughter,” Martinez, it would seem, can now commit to a more regular appearance as the Mondragon patriarch.
“To be honest, when I turned 50, I told myself, ‘This will be the last stretch of my career.’ Because realistically, what role can you play at the age of 50 – father roles, lolo roles, and all that,” Martinez had told ABS-CBN News in a past interview.
“It didn’t cross my mind, the possibility of still being a leading man with the likes of Bea Alonzo and now Beauty Gonzalez,” he pointed out, referring to his respective onscreen partners in “Sana Bukas Pa Ang Kahapon” (2014) and “Kadenang Ginto.”
Martinez, who hasn’t had a year since 2006 without a role in an ABS-CBN teleserye, has also said he is “very thankful and overwhelmed” over the recent strides in his already storied 40-year career.
“Sabi ko, ‘Hey, wait a minute, puwede pa pala!’”