Cynthia Patag, Jim Paredes accused of politicizing musician's death
MANILA, Philippines – Actress Cynthia Patag as well as singer Jim Paredes and his wife Lydia are under fire, with Filipino social media users accusing them of politicizing the death of musician Noli Asensio.
Patag and Paredes are known supporters of Manuel Roxas II, standard-bearer of the Liberal Party (LP) in the May 2016 elections, who lost to President Rodrigo Duterte. The two celebrities have also been critical of Duterte.
The uproar started after a Facebook post from Patag went viral over the weekend. The post was entitled "He wasn't poor" and had the byline of "Lydia M. Paredes." It claimed that Asensio was "abducted" and "drugged" before his death, and that he was a "victim of Duterte's drug war."
These claims, according to Patag's post, were sent by a certain Ana Segovia to Lydia Paredes. Segovia said Asensio was her cousin.
Asensio's ex-wife Iwi Laurel and daughter Nicole then took to social media to deny the contents of Patag's viral post.
Iwi clarified that her ex-husband was neither abducted nor drugged, and he was not a victim of the Duterte administration's anti-drug campaign.
"Forgive me for saying this, but you were not in the ER during his last moments and we never appointed you to be the family's spokesperson. So please, do not use Noli's passing for any of your political motives and schemes," wrote Iwi.
"If you are a good person, you will stop spreading all these lies. If you have compassion, you will understand that we are grieving for someone we love very much who was a good person and we miss him terribly," she also said.
Nicole shared her mother's post, and added: "My father died with me in Makati Medical Center ER... Right beside me at his final hours... I am appalled at the yellow idiots who have gossiped and gossiped about his life and death, plotting to use his death to fuel their political schemes. Some of these yellowtards were my friends... Some are my own blood relatives."
Yellow is the official color of the LP.
Nicole also posted a screenshot of her Facebook Messenger chat with Jim, who apologized and said the contents of Patag's post were meant to be private.
The former Apo Hiking Society member then posted an open letter to Iwi and Nicole on Monday, October 17, explaining that his wife forwarded Segovia's message privately to him and "some friends" to seek confirmation about the circumstances of Asensio's death.
"After you expressed your concern to me via PM about Cythia Patag posting message publicly, I immediately called her and asked how it is that the message became public. Cynthia told me she thought it was sent to her because the sender wanted it public. Bottom line was, it was not meant to be public or even editorialized with a title 'HE WAS NOT POOR.' I immediately asked her to take it out," Jim said.
He added that he and his wife "had no intention whatsoever" of politicizing Asensio's death.
Nicole and Jim have known each other even before this controversy broke out. Nicole was a participant in the 2014 Elements Music Camp, where Jim was a mentor.
Nicole is the granddaughter of former vice president Salvador Laurel. Nicole's father is the son of Fides Cuyugan-Asensio, who is known as the grand dame of Philippine opera. – Rappler.com