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Vilma Santos-Recto (born Maria Rosa Vilma Tuazon Santos; November 3, 1953), commonly known as Ate Vi, is a Filipino actress and politician. She is known as the Star for all Seasons for her various roles in different genres of her movies and holds the titles of Grand Slam Queen, Queen of Queens, and as the longest reigning box office queen of Philippine cinema.
She was hailed as the Enduring Grand Dame of the Philippine Film Industry by a legitimate foreign critic at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, the first Filipina actress to ever be bestowed such a title.
She won as Representative of the Lone District of Lipa, Batangas in the 2016 elections. She has been fielded by various political parties to run for the Senate in 2019, however, she has not made any formal announcement of acceptance or rejection.
Vilma Santos is widely considered as the most lastingly successful Filipino movie and television actor of all time.
She started her acting career when one of her uncles, who was a cameraman at Sampaguita Pictures, convinced her to try out for the movies. Initially, Sampaguita Pictures had planned a child star role for her in Anak, Ang Iyong Ina (1969). When Santos was in the studio, she noticed a long line of little girls. Thinking that that line was the line for her audition, she decided to queue in. The long line turned out to be for an audition for Sampaguita Pictures' offering Trudis Liit (Little Trudis).
When it was her turn to audition, she was asked by the panel to sing, dance and cry on cue. She got the part of "Trudis Liit" for which she received the FAMAS Awards Best Child Performer award for 1963.
She was cast in Sa Bawat Pintig ng Puso (1964), Maria Cecilia (1965), Kasalanan Kaya? (1968), Iginuhit ng Tadhana (1965) (with future Senator Bongbong Marcos, as future Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos) and later in its sequel Pinagbuklod ng Langit (1969).
Mayor of Lipa City
In 2005, the University of the Philippines conferred on her the Gawad Plaridel Award for her achievements and contributions both as an actress and a public servant. In the same year she was conferred an honorary doctorate degree (honoris causa) in humanities by the Lipa City College. She was again honored in 2006 by the University of the Philippines as one of the four awardees in UP's First Diwata Awards.
Governor of Batangas
In 2007, Santos-Recto was on her third and final term as Mayor of Lipa and was barred for seeking another term. She became a reluctant candidate for Governor of Batangas, although his brother-in-law, incumbent Vice Governor Richard Recto is seeking the governorship.
On March 5, 2007, during the regular flag-raising ceremony at the Lipa City Hall, Santos-Recto ask for a week to decide if she will run or not. This was attended by thousands of her supporters not only in Lipa but from different towns in Batangas. On March 12, 2007, she made her final decision, running for Governor of Batangas despite having his brother-in-law as his rival, including incumbent governor Arman Sanchez and former police chief Nestor Sanares.
On the day of her filing of her candidacy, Richard Recto decided to withdrew his candidacy and run for congress instead.
Santos-Recto was proclaimed Governor-elect of the province of Batangas on May 21, 2007 after garnering 475,740 votes against incumbent Arman Sanchez's 344,969 becoming the first female governor of the province of Batangas. Governor Santos-Recto was reelected Governor of Batangas during the May 2010 elections and again, reelected as Governor of Batangas during the May 2013 elections and this is her last term for being a Governor.
Member, House of Representatives
After her election for her third and final term as Governor of Batangas, speculations circulated that Santos-Recto would run for the national level. However, she declined every offer to run for a higher level. She decided to run as the first representative of the newly-formed 6th District of Batangas, would comprise only the City of Lipa. Santos-Recto won by a landslide, defeating Bernadette Sabili.
She became chairman of the Committee on Civil Service and Professional Regulation. However, she was removed from the post by the House leadership for her rejection of the reimposition of capital punishment.