MANILA, Philippines?Veteran character actor Berting Labra died Tuesday in his house in Pateros after a lingering battle with emphysema. He was 76.
The news was confirmed by Labra?s colleagues in show business, Senator Ramon ?Bong? Revilla Jr. and Film Academy of the Philippines head Leo Martinez.
Revilla, who worked with Labra in the 1991 action film ?Manong Gang,? described the seasoned actor as ?a funny man who was well-respected by his peers.?
In one of his last interviews, he told the Philippine Inquirer in 2005: ?I have no regrets. I don?t take life too seriously. As they say: ?If you?re gonna go, you?re gonna go.?
A former child star in post-war Philippine cinema, Labra acted as sidekick to both Fernando Poe Sr. and his son Fernando Poe Jr.
Most notably, he was one of FPJ?s friends in the hit youth flick ?Lo? Waist Gang? in 1956.
Poe?s daughter Mary Grace Poe-Llamanzares told the Inquirer that Labra had just attended a ?Lo? Waist Gang? reunion last month.
Not even fame and friendship with Poe, however, shielded Labra from a murder case that landed him and actor Eddie Fernandez in jail in 1969.
Labra and Fernandez were eventually exonerated by the Supreme Court in 1982, after 13 years in prison.
?I learned a lot in prison,? he told the Inquirer. ?I met God there.?