TEODORO C. BENIGNO: KRIS, FINALLY AN AQUINO

MANILA, September 29, 2003 (STAR) HERE'S THE SCORE By Teodoro c. benigno  - Rochefoucault, always that eloquent bard of romance, it was who said that lovers "at the beginning and at the end of love" find themselves forlornly alone. And so it was in the heart-rending drama of Kris Aquino and Joey Marquez. It was a gripping story of love that went astray. It started furtively enough as "illicit" love affairs do. Then it hurtled up the cliffs of passion between two persons who should not have fallen in love in the first place. Yes, it reached a Homeric scale, this time with the public in the know. Then it blew up in the biggest scandal to unravel before a shocked and unbelieving public. Everybody still has the staggers.

It was bound to crack up.

Neither Kris nor Joey could handle the complexities of their emotions, their careers, their social pedigrees, their respective niches in society, their startling "unlikeness" if that be the word. What brought them together was the dizzying, dazzling world of celebrity. Apart from that, they dangled from different worlds. Kris was an aristocratic ball of fire, highly insightful and intellectual although she rarely showed it. She was a slice of Ninoy close to the surface, voluble, charismatic, often flaunting the moral hypocrisy of high society, relishing every moment of her celebrity status. Mother Cory couldn’t handle her anymore than she could handle Ninoy. He was a shaft of political lightning that liked nothing better than slashing pell-mell across the edge of the cliff where death and danger lay.

In a completely contrarian way, that too was Kris.

She stripped off the political cocoon of Ninoy. She did away with his lofty convictions and principles as she sought fame and fortune in the entertainment world. But she retained her father’s itch for razzle-dazzle forays into adventure. She slipped into the wicked ways of the Land of Make-Believe, sought and recklessly lived what she thought was true love. There again, she encountered La Rochefoucault who said: "True love is like ghosts, which everybody talks about and few have seen." Or was it Samuel Johnson, who said "Love is the wisdom of the fool and the folly of the wise"?

Mother Cory echoed what everybody was saying. Kris was unto the manor born, a fairy princess if she knew how to behave. But her choice of lovers was abominable, at the very least highly questionable. Who would have thought she would fall for the likes of Robin Padilla, Alvin Patrimonio, Phillip Salvador who bore her a child, still others and eventually Joey Marquez? Napakaboba in love, Cory said. One would have thought her father Ninoy would be her model. Ninoy up to his fingertips was the intellectual aristocrat, who impressed and astonished "the best andthe brightest" at Harvard and the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) with the breadth of his knowledge. His every remark was a sword slash, a jewel sparkling in a dank pool, his dream for the Philippines a storm cloud waiting to burst and it did August 21, 1983.

Joey, whatever his beginnings, whatever his later successes as a politician, was simply not up to the Gothic armature of the Aquinos. His world began as a second-rate comedian (I first saw him in the TV sitcom Palibhasa Lalake). It was not long before he sustained that "divine wound" of many celebrities, that of entering politics. There, like Archimedes, he would stand his ground, shake the world. As two-term mayor of Parañaque, he was well on the way. Like Tito Sotto, Ramon Revilla, Robert Jaworski, he would one day land in the Senate. And from there, who knows? Didn’t Erap get to the very top?

Joey Marquez had an addiction though that was to prove his undoing.

He loved the broads too much. His favorite swashbuckle was a sashay into the boudoir, where it is said he had extraordinary powers to charm, seduce, to lay. His biggest trophy before he landed Kris was Alma Moreno, an angel-faced nymphet before she too became a legend in the Land of Lay. And, when finally, Joey had Kris secure in his dovecote – or so believed – Mayor Joey Marquez of Parañaque had his political roadmap nailed handsomely on the wall. Avanti!

Joey may have handled everything — or almost everything – just dandy.

He grossly overestimated himself. Or better still, he underestimated and undervalued Kris Aquino. Kris, whatever she was at the time or whatever Joey may have thought of her, was still a shred of Camelot. Helplessly and hopelessly in love as she might have been with Joey, abused, battered, demeaned and debased as she claims she was (and the world believes her despite Joey’s disclaimers), stricken with STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) that made her bleed, again as she claims, Kris had a concealed scabbard that Joey had never seen or suspected existed. And with it, a concealed sword.

Joey should have known this. His love for Kris turned out to be the "wisdom of the fool" as Samuel Johnson intoned, while Kris’s love for him was the "folly of the wise". Joey never woke up to the danger of humiliating such a one as Kris Aquino. He forgot or ignored the fact she was a drawbridge to a national hero and former president. Joey probably figured he had Kris lashed to his Male Fortress and "no man after that would ever want or desire her" since she was already goods damaged (STD) beyond repair. So she was trophy chained to his hands. For Joey, Kris was perhaps something like a prize but indentured slave during the days when the Carribbean teemed with a slave-bearing pirate ships. And their voluptuous cargo of swaying, dancing nubile nymphs.

Joey jammed a gun into Kris’ face that fateful night? Then cocked it? I believe that. Almost everybody does. He beat her up, drew blue bruises and welts from her arms? I believe that, too. As I also believe that Kris fought back, sought to "crush" his genitals, and at times experienced violent, almost homicidal streaks. She was a battered woman who sought to hit back but was helpless against a man who loomed over her like a polar bear, 220 pounds to her 120. Man Mountain Dean over Tom Thumb.

When everything is said and done, what struck me most was this.

When Kris was interviewed by Korina Sanchez in that unforgettable almost hour-long program, it was a different Kris that I saw for the first time. And mind you, I have known her from chilldhood. gone was the "Game ka na ba?" Kris. Gone was the tinsel of the entertainment world, the praises, the shouts and the lavish applause. gone was the carnival pomp and the pirouette, lavish sums offered and given. Gone was the gilded coach atop which Kris moved in the celebrity world. Gone was the make-up, the rouge and the mascara, the signature dresses, the honk of fame, the romp into the never-never land of fantasy, the screech of brakes coming to a stop whenever Kris Aquino fared forth into her Fairy Land.

Here then was Kris without any make-up. Her face was smothered by nothing less than soap and water, then toweled dry. She looked like she had cried for a long time in her mother’s arms. This time she was fully composed. Not one tear did she shed during the interview. For the first time, there were flashes of Ninoy on her face. There were no giggles, no buckets of gurgling water fetched from Wonderland. There was only Kris, Korina Sanchez – and the truth.

Whose truth? I believe this is where Joey is in terrible trouble. Nobody believes his denials that he ever laid a hand on Kris, that he ever brandished a gun on her.

Kris’ was a "shock and awe" performance. Ninoy would have been proud of that. What woman would divest herself of the smelly garbage she had hidden for a long time, garbage she reportedly suffered because she loved Joey much too much? What woman would reveal she had STD allegedly inflicted on her by the Parañaque mayor because he was "an incorrigible womanizer"? What woman would challenge her lover to undertake a lie detector test in tandem so the public would know who was telling the truth? What woman, particularly if her name was Kris Aquino, was already to sacrifice everything, go hurtling down the abyss if verity, if pride, if honor were not on her side?

In this, we remember Robert Lovelace who said, "I could not love thee, dear, so much, loved I not honor more."

This columnist cannot accept the accusation of Joey Marquez’s supporters that we have prejudged him, that we have not really bothered to hear his side. What side? John Greenleaf Whittier said, "When faith is lost, when honor dies, the man is dead." Joey may have a few marbles here and there, but his reputation, his record, his dubious character precedes him. Prejudge? From the very outset, I "prejudged" Joseph Estrada and warned the nation in so many columns that here was a pretender, a hoax, a sybarite, a barrel-bellied disgrace to the republic. And he proved to be all that.

Joey made the fatal mistake of seeking to embed Kris in his stable of conquests by hook or by crook. And now, as Kris said in the crisp sepulchral tones of Ninoy, "Joey, you’re dead."


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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