COMPETING broaddsheets–not tabloids, take note–have been having a field day lately trying to outdo, outsell and “out-sensationalize” each other over supposedly private matters involving money (lots of ’em!) and the heart, and starring two of the country’s most high-profile pairs: Kris Aquino and James Yap; and Sen. Chiz Escudero and Heart Evangelista.
One broadsheet even went to town with a rather bewildering banner that probably left many readers far from bewitched: “Kris vs James: Just stay away.” Who said what, and who should stay away?
Jude, a good friend of mine, seemed to have come up with a plausible theory. It’s not Kris, James or even Bimby who should stay away. It’s the readers! 😀
But serious readers shouldn’t take mainstream media to task for drumming up the twin domestic dramas. Times are hard, and every media outfit, especially those in the printed medium, needs to boost circulation, generate ads and make money. They should instead lay the blame on Filipinos and their insatiable penchant for show biz gossip.
If unregulated blogs are to double as barometers for reader preference, shallow and salacious news stories involving famous and beautiful people almost always draw the lion’s share of hits.
My experience as a newbie blogger bears this out. It seems no matter how genuine and well written some of my more personal pieces are—at least in my mind—a bulk of my readers still tend to gravitate towards less edifying entries involving movie stars dispensing beauty tips or parading in various stages of undress in Bench’s underwear show.
Something as timely and controversial, for instance, as my pieces on the RH Bill and Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation could hardly generate one percent of the hits generated by my twin entries on the Ricky Lo-Anne Hathaway brouhaha. And Anne isn’t even Catholic!
When Zsa Zsa Padilla got sick, an earlier entry of mine about her thwarted wedding plans with Dolphy saw a renewed spike in hits. Never mind if it has nothing to do with her health problems, the piece still manages to lure in trickles of readers more than six months after it was published.
Relax and enjoy it
Such is the state of thinking in these islands (or wherever the Filipino diaspora has taken our kababayan). If showbiz controversy is inevitable, to paraphrase the late Sen. Raul Manglapus on his appalling views on rape, then let’s just simply relax and enjoy it.
Of the two, the Kris Aquino-James Yap public spat is the more “classical” story, as the bone of contention revolves around shared custody of the estranged couple’s five-year-old son Bimby, as well as division of spoils from their now broken conjugal home.
We’ve all seen Kris cry her heart out on national TV before. Short of P-Noy making an appearance (I’m sure the “Queen of All Media” would insist that her late mother, President Cory, was with her in spirit), Kris’ three elder sisters were there to give her more than enough shoulder to cry on.
Again, the seeming earnestness and spontaneity that seemed to have eluded her as an actress were on full display in front of the cameras. Only this time, she was crying over a different man and the supposed violation she suffered from him.
I will leave the Kris-James issue to its logical conclusion. With their respective battery of lawyers, the outcome seems more clear-cut—a textbook case of two colliding egos trying to outdo each other publicly, and with their son as a hapless and unwitting props in an ultimate game of emotional blackmail.
The “fresher,” sleazier and more unpredictable controversy involves Chiz, 46, and Heart, 28, and the latter’s parents. As if holding a press conference to try to win their daughter back wasn’t enough, Rey and Baby Ongpauco, Heart’s parents, have conscripted Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo to join their camp.
Tulfo, a police reporter by training, isn’t exactly known in the industry as a paragon of tact.
No big fan
I’m no big fan of the reelectionist senator myself, a consistent topnotcher in almost all surveys. Apart from Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Chiz Escudero is one politician whose words, even if rendered in print, have the ability to ring in my ears for their distinct cadence and his seemingly contrived efforts to speak in deep and sometimes
It’s as if he and Miriam are speaking (talking down?) to me in person every time I come across quoted statements coming from them. Despite her nutty ways, Miriam has shown flashes of brilliance that, on a good day, can also be amusing. Alas, Chiz, to me, simply comes off as weird, dour and a bit fake.
Anyway, no matter how we look at it, the Ongpaucos’ efforts to win back their daughter and derail Chiz’s reelection bid are lost causes. The senator, despite being pictured as a drunkard and disrespectful man, clearly has the upper hand.
For one, Heart is pushing 30 and can do anything she wishes, short of marrying the previously married Chiz in Catholic rites. Getting Tulfo to articulate their side isn’t helping either.
In fact, it was the second worse thing they did after holding a press conference with the aim of saving their “needy” daughter from the clutches of her supposedly wily and more seasoned lover. Ang guwapo naman ni Chiz! Bilib na ako. (From the looks of it, Chiz is indeed one handsome guy! I’m impressed.)
I’m quoting from Tulfo’s March 21st column. See for yourself if it’s doing more harm than good to the Ongpaucos’ cause.
“You know, our daughter is a spoiled brat and we buy her all the things she wants. You know what Chiz does? He gave Heart a watch, which he said came from a Chinese supporter.
“He learned that Heart wanted a certain (brand of) watch so he got it from a Chinese supporter. That’s how he gives gifts to Heart: He would get them from supporters. Like that watch which costs five million pesos which, he told Heart, he would pay back to the Chinese.”
“Bobby Ongpin backs him (Chiz) up (financially). Heart wanted a (house) trailer. Chiz said for her not to buy it because he would give it to her as a gift. Bobby Ongpin would give it to him as a Christmas gift.
“Now, Chiz promised to buy Heart a house. ‘Don’t ask your Dad to build you a house because I will take care of buying it for you. My law firm was approached by a foreign company and will hire my firm.’ In truth, I heard he has no law firm.
“My daughter’s P30-million movie contract, Chiz boasted he would top nine times over.”
Based on these statements alone, it’s clear that Heart is the one with the problem, not Chiz. Not only does she come off as needy for affection, as her parents said previously, she’s also a picture of a bilmoko (material) girl. Where and how did she acquire such values?
The last seems hard to reconcile since Heart, who comes from a well-off family of restaurateurs—Barrio Fiesta, Ihaw-Ihaw, Singing Cooks and Waiters, etc.—isn’t exactly poor. And with her show biz earnings, she can easily afford to buy these luxuries herself.
In fact, Chiz, a master of spin and timing, has again played the underdog to the hilt in a later statement defending his love for Heart despite the fact that he isn’t as rich as Heart’s parents. He conveniently forgets that “rich” is a relative term. To majority of the Filipino people who can barely make ends meet, Chiz is certainly no pobre.
But ranged against a very powerful and crafty adversary, the Ongpaucos, perhaps in their desperation, did the unthinkable by washing their dirty (table) linen in public and thrashing their daughter in the process. And we are all the poorer, less enlightened and shallower (more than ever) for it.