MANILA, September 26, 2003 (STAR) GOTCHA By Jarius Bondoc  - So who d’ya think is telling the truth, Kris Aquino or Joey Marquez? No, really. It doesn’t matter if we all weren’t there at Joey’s sister’s pad on the Monday night of the big fight. Neither does it matter that it’s her word against his. We all have to take sides, to make a judgment, in this raging national debate. Did Joey really poke a gun at Kris and at one time infect her with you-know-what? Or is Kris really prone to hurting herself and crushing his you-know-what-too?

Quick, give your answer. The television giants, ABS-CBN where Kris has three shows and GMA where Joey has one, can’t wait forever. Cameras are rolling. You know how costly air time is. Survey responses are pouring in through the networks’ radio stations as well. Only recently, they asked you too who you think is telling the truth, Ping Lacson or Mike Arroyo. So now, make a stand, who d’ya think is telling the truth, Kris or Joey?

You have a right to be heard. This is democracy. In a democracy each voice is important. That’s what our forefathers taught us. That’s what our leaders tell us every time they court our votes. Remember, our senators got us arguing about their parliamentary immunity to assault reputations even without evidence that can stand in court. That was tough. This one’s easier. You saw Kris the other night pouring her heart out on the early evening newscast. You saw Joey on the other channel parrying her assaults. Don’t give that excuse that they’re both actors. One of ‘em has got to be telling the truth. So who d’ya think it is?

Forget that line about this being none of our business. If our senators couldn’t care less about the privacy of persons walking into whatever floor of an eight-story building on Perea Street in Makati, then why should we? As our senators preach, you lose your privacy the moment you admit to owning a long-closed alias bank account, like Iggy Arroyo did. Well, Kris lost her privacy the minute she drove into Camp Crame to report her side to the PNP Director General. Joey lost his long ago when he first ran for mayor of Parañaque City. That makes them both fair game for prying eyes and nosy voyeurs. So who d’ya think is telling the truth?

Forget that line, too, that there are matters of graver import. Sure, we still have to get to the bottom of this Jose Pidal mystery. Ping cries that it’s money laundering, even if all he has to show for it are photocopies of two Pidal bank checks, one dated 1998 and the other 1999, long before the Anti-Money Laundering Act was passed in 2001. Sure, we have to pry into Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s true ownership of that San Francisco building, even if Ping knows only too well that the Senate had investigated the case as far back as ’96 and the Ombudsman had dropped it in ’97 for lack of merit. Sure, since those two exposés were duds, we now have to look into Ping’s latest revelation that a company that has been importing race horses from Australia since the ’60s is actually a front of Mickey Arroyo who was born in the ’70s. Those matters are of public interest. But so is the Kris-Joey affair. So answer me now, who d’ya think is telling the truth?

Come to think of it, you may be right. This Kris-Joey tiff is diverting our attention from national issues. Hmm, whose camp could have blown it out of proportion to yank the Pidal story out of the headlines? Could it be Malacañang, which desperately wants the Pidal inquiry stopped since it has pulled down Mrs. Arroyo’s ratings? Or could it be Ping, who craftily might be luring us away from a reported impending Supreme Court ruling on his Kuratong Baleleng multiple murders? Did you notice that the same lawyers who represent the senator also represent Kris? At any rate, that’s not the issue at hand. The query here and now is who you think, between Kris and Joey, is telling the truth.

Wait, here comes another text message. During last Wednesday’s newscast, Smart and Globe transmitters clogged with that pass-on message from five million texters: "I bet you’re watching Kris right now." Yesterday, another pass-on message was how lucky the Parañaque mayor is that he has tulo while faucets of residents there have none. Please pass on today’s text: "To all Filipinos: those who side with Kris in her quarrel with Joey, proceed to EDSA Shrine. Those for Joey, proceed to Parañaque Air Force-One KTV." See, there’s a big mobilization going on out there. So join in and say who you think is telling the truth.

Hey, why involve a religious shrine in this? Don’t we have any more shame? Then again, didn’t a bishop poke fun at God upon reading a news item from Mrs. Arroyo’s spokesman that she’s seeking Divine Guidance if she should run for President? Didn’t Ping’s senators and congressmen scoff at that newsbit about the need to be prayerful? If our church and state leaders do it, musn’t we follow their sterling example? In the process, let’s ask them too who they think is telling the truth, Kris or Joey.

You may not be a trained judge. You may not have a discerning mind. But you are a Filipino. As a Filipino, you take politics and show business seriously. They’re part of your life. Besides, politics and show business are very much alike, The only big difference is when someone goofs in show business, it doesn’t cost taxpayers anything. So, quick, tell me, who d’ya think is telling the truth, Kris or Joey?

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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