Showbiz 2013: Rape, respect, and the deadly juice cleanse
MANILA, Philippines – In the year 2013, the showbiz world followed the tried and tested punch lines of celluloid reality. There is the slapping, the name-calling, the grand hyperboles, and even grander apologies, along with promises of eternal love, real or otherwise. Roll the music, turn up the lights, and send in the clowns. Welcome to the soap opera.
1. "He just told me one thing. He said, 'If this is what it takes to keep you and to have you, then I'll go for it.'" – Heart Evangelista
Heart Evangelista may "melt all the time" Senator Chiz Escudero looks at her "with puppy dog eyes," but her parents certainly don't share those sentiments.
In March, the Ongpauco couple addressed their 28-year-old daughter over public television in what may be the most embarassing parental lecture yet. Evangelista's mother dismissed her daughter's claim of true love, saying the actress was "diagnosed as a needy personality, but she refuses psychiatric treatment."
Escudero, they said, has "pecuilar habits." They claimed he was an alcoholic, that he took advantage of Evangelista's car and condo, and had committed the heinous crime of encouraging Evangelista to fire her mother as manager. They also said the senator had illusions of grandeur, seducing Evangelista with promises of the presidency.
Evangelista, who likened her relationship to Escudero with that of a geisha and her older patron, said she was once afraid she would be detrimental to his political career – until Escudero reassured her. He will pay whatever price to keep her, surveys be damned.
She also believes he will make "a great president."
2. "Magrespeto ka. You don't do that to me." – Willie Revillame
In February, the comedian and television host took backstage conflict to the limelight when he began howling at his co-hosts Ethel Booba and Ate Gay during his noontime show Wowowillie. The topic of the tirade? According to Revillame, the two women confronted him in the dressing room, complaining of how they had lost the show's costume challenge.
Revillame called the two unprofessional, in a rant that is perhaps an attempt to redefine television professionalism. He went on to describe how he had helped the two entertainers establish themselves in showbiz.
Wowowillie ended in October.
3. "Ang pag-ibig ay kino-conquer ng lahat, at kasama ako sa na-conquer nun." – Freddie Aguilar
That Freddie Aguilar is old enough to be his girlfriend's father – or grandfather – does not matter to Freddie Aguilar. The 60-year-old folk music legend stood his ground after news spread of his relationship with a girl over 40 years his junior. It was the girl who pursued him, he said, and he was not aware she was 16 until they fell in love.
In a matter of days, the revelation led to a frenzy on social media, even prompting an investigation by the Department of Social Welfare and Development as well as a qualified seduction case. The couple jumped from network to network, giving interviews and defending their love, with the young girl's parents in open approval.
Aguilar challenged the government to provide basis for abuse, saying that it seemed odd that there was so much controversy over his consensual relationship while so many children are abused on the streets.
Six months after the couple met, Aguilar and the girl called "Bhabe" converted to Islam and participated in a Muslim marriage. Aquilar called the marriage an attempt to end all controversy.
The veteran singer dedicated his song “Ipaglalaban ko” (I will fight for this) to his wife.
4. "I wish you will see that Miss World is not just about the crown." – Megan Young
For the first time in the Miss World pageant history, a Filipino won the crown. Megan Young went from a rising star in reality TV show Starstruck to a world-class beauty queen. The 23-year-old Filipino-American bested 126 candidates from all over the globe in the pageant held September in Bali, Indonesia.
Young's victory was one of the country's several achievements in the beauty pageant realm, with Mutya Datul winning Miss Supranational in September and Bea Rose Santiago winning Miss International in December.
5. "I have to do what's best for my son, and that means sacrificing my job." – Kris Aquino
Benigno Aquino Jr's daughter this year announced – again – she was giving up her television shows in yet another convoluted act of martyrdom. In a replay of several other interviews shot over the last decade, Aquino again wept on television while announcing her retirement from showbiz, this time for the sake of her children.
Almost a year after the annulment of her marriage, Aquino demanded a Temporary Protection Order against her former husband who allegedly made "overt sexual advances" in the presence of her son. In the story told by Kris Aquino, she was a woman wronged, her dignity offended, her child Bimby mistreated by the evil whose name is James Yap.
Yap defended himself, saying there was no sexual advance on his part. He said Aquino may have made him look like a rapist in public, but all he wanted was to be with his only son.
Aquino's network ABS-CBN later retracted Aquino's announcement. The television host, they said, will continue on with her television commitments.
6. "Hindi mo kailangan ng pera. Bakit ka pumatol sa kanya? Bakit sa bakla?" – Lally (Carla Abellana)
From June to October, the nation followed the story of Lally and her husband Vincent (Tom Rodriguez), who had an adulterous affair with a gay man Eric (Dennis Trillo). While the affair was a fictional one, the teleserye My Husband's Lover broke barriers as the first show to heavily tackle homosexuality on Philippine TV.
The show was lauded by the public, yet closely monitored by the Catholic Church.
The series ended in October, with viewers, even the MTRCB, branding it as a victory for Pinoy television.
Around the same time, the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as union only between a man and a woman, was rejected in US courts. In the Philippines, the My Husband's Lover Bill was authored by Albay Representative Edcel Lagman to impose criminal charges for same-sex affairs involving married individuals.
7. "You are a liar, Gretchen." – Inday Barretto
The Barretto family feud unfolded like a reality show, making a squabble between celebrity sisters Gretchen, Marjorie, and Claudine into a ful-blown national media phenomenon, with their mother Inday Baretto taking center stage. The Barretto matriarch called her daughter Gretchen a liar in an open letter, at the same time defending the younger Claudine against allegations she was out to ruin the rising showbiz career of Marjorie's daughter Julia.
What followed was another letter by Baretto brother Joaquin, this time defending his sister Gretchen and hinting about Claudine's drug problem. The flurry of statements from family and friends drew the family further apart, culminating in Claudine's subsequent marital woes with husband actor Raymart Santiago.
Gretchen later testified in court against her sister.
She later told the press she continues to wholeheartedly love her sister Claudine.
8. "Ang hirap nga lang kung si Jessica Soho magbo-bold. Kailangan gang rape lagi." – Vice Ganda
In his comedy show aired over national television and applauded by thousands live, comedian Vice Ganda took potshots at a broadcast journalist from a rival network, Jessica Soho: This angry woman is fat, boys and girls, so fat she will break a scale, so fat her panties are the size of comforters, so fat she can be mistaken for a roast pig.
With over 13,000 fans as his witnesses, Vice Ganda seared the image of Soho into the national consciousness as a woman naked on a tabletop, legs spread, an apple in her mouth.
The public, including Soho's fellow journalists, cried foul at the joke. In response, the Media and Television Review and Classification Board met with the comedian to discuss rules on comedy. Vice Ganda's fans defended the comedian, claiming the comment was made in fun and without malice.
The comedian made a lengthy apology that said very little about what precisely he was apologizing for.
9. "Opo, tomboy po ako." – Charice Pempengco
In a tell-all interview in June, Pempengco admitted to the public she was a lesbian, and introduced her girlfriend Alyssa Quijano.
Coming out made her feel free, said the 21-year-old. She called singer Quijano her "inspiration."
Pempengco's revelation paved the way for a collaboration and concert with child star and singer Aiza Seguerra, who told ABS-CBN that coming out to her parents some 6 years ago was a painful experience.
While her fan base remained solid as ever, Pempengco's family suffered a blow. The international singer's mother admitted she too went through a phase when she believed she was lesbian, but managed "to overcome it."
Raquel Pempengco said her first reaction after Charice's revelation was to hide. She felt the public blamed her.
10. "I can buy you, your friends, and this club." – Anne Curtis
In one of the many versions of this story, showbiz darling Anne Curtis slapped 3 people in a drunken rage while at Prive Luxury Bar in Taguig. According to magazine publisher JR Isaac, Curtis assaulted actor John Lloyd Cruz, Isaac, and friend Leah de Guzman. Curtis allegedly screamed that Cruz was an addict, then shoved a finger at model Phoemela Barranda's face while shrieking the line that has become an online phenomenon.
Curtis apologized, and claimed the culprit behind her behavior was an unfortunate mix of alcohol and a "popular juice cleanse."
The public may or may not have bought the excuse, but certainly Curtis' friend Barranda did. She later denied Curtis used the now infamous line. – Rappler.com