By NR RAMOS - Actress-singer Sharon Cuneta is eager to add another notch to her seemingly ever-widening belt – that of property mogul.

The actress, herself, revealed so in a recent interview, saying it's the fulfillment of a longtime dream. Already, she has acquired several properties including one in an area near Tomas Morato, where she plans to build several townhouses.

More, Cuneta divulged having bought a two-hectare oceanfront property in Bohol that she aims to develop into a retirement village. Another recent investment is an eight-hectare property in Palawan.

In the same interview, the 46-year old denied having an interest in politics saying that she doesn’t have what it takes to last in such a “cynical” arena. Cuneta, who is married to Sen. Francis Pangilinan, insists that having one politician in the family is enough.

That said, Cuneta lavishes praises on several colleagues who have made inroads in politics including Vilma Santos, governor of Batangas.

Prior, Cuneta signed a long-term contract with media giant TV5 in hopes of reinvigorating her TV career. The deal, rumored to have amounted to a billion pesos, is said to be the biggest ever in the history of local show business.

Grace Ibuna reveals loving Iggy Arroyo with all her heart By MAUREEN MARIE BELMONTE March 12, 2012, 10:50am

[PHOTO - Grace Ibuna recounted how things 'happened so fast' when Iggy took his last breath]

MANILA, Philippines – The death of Negros Occidental representative Ignacio “Iggy” Ibuna on Jan. 26 due to cirrhosis of the liver has thrust Grace Ibuna into the spotlight---and on the receiving end of malicious remarks from the public as well as from his wife Aleli Arroyo.

Finally on "The Buzz," March 11, Grace reveals her side of the “truth” to “straighten out things.”

Asked by host Boy Abunda why she finally granted the interview, Grace said she wanted to be “consistent” with her promise to give Iggy a “dignified” burial.

“Hindi ko naman ‘to gusto eh. Kasi parang ayaw kong patulan, Boy, kasi what for? And the truth is I was grieving. Sobrang sakit, hindi mo maintindihan kung saan nanggaling ‘yung sakit,” she said.

Recall that when news of the congressman’s death reached the country, a rumor came out that it was Grace—his live-in partner for six years—who allegedly “pulled the plug” that ended Iggy’s life.

To this, she replied with conviction, “Boy there’s no such thing. I have documents to show that…the rules of London are very different. It is not the call of any family member to stop the medication [which the patient is receiving] or to ‘unplug’ [the life support]. In fact, there was no plug.”

She even recounted how things “happened so fast” when Iggy took his last breath.

“Halos lumuhod ako sa doctor, Boy, para pakiusapan sila na gawin lahat. But they said they did everything,” she said in between long pauses.

Another issue that Aleli supposedly complained about was how Grace purportedly “misrepresented” herself as “Mrs. Arroyo” and even identifying herself as the “next of kin” in a certain document that had to be filled out after Iggy passed away.

“Boy, kung meron silang papel na hawak na sinulat ko ‘Mrs. Arroyo,’ pakita nila,” she challenged.

The mother of budding star Garrie Concepcion (whose father is Gabby Concepcion) said, “I have documents that it was [in] Iggy’s handwriting, [and] that he placed me as ‘next of kin.’”

According to her, the name inscribed on that document was “Mary Grace Ibuna” and not “Mrs. Arroyo.”

“Hindi ko kailangang magpretend to be ‘Mrs. Arroyo,’ while I know I am not. Aanhin mo ‘yung pangalan ‘di ba, kung you don’t live up to that name,” she said.

On being a ‘mistress’

Grace has been called many names, not the least of which “ are "mistress” and the “other woman.”

Grace defended herself by saying, “Alam naman natin ang ibig sabihin ng kabit, ‘di ba?”

“Buksan niyo ‘yung Webster, Oxford, Merriam dictionary, Wikipedia, buksan ninyo! Ang ibig sabihin ng kabit ay ‘yung [nakikiapid habang] nagsasama pa ang dalawang tao sa iisang bubong. They still share one common bed at ikaw ay tinatago. ‘Yun ang mistress, ‘yun ang kabit.

“Pero kung alam naman ng lahat at siya [Aleli] pa ang nag-announce na hiwalay na sila at siya ang nakipaghiwalay, at ikaw [pertainer to herself] ang pinapakilala sa mga tao, kabit ba ‘yun?” Grace pointed out.

She admitted that, though she’s “aware” that she’s not a mistress, being as considered one "hurts" not only her but her parents.

Grace likewise addressed the other pressing rumor that she’s only after Iggy’s wealth.

Grace countered this accusation by saying, “Hindi kami mga Ayala o mga Zobel, or mga Gokongwei or mga Sy at Tan, but I have two hard-working parents. We lived well. Lumaki kami nang maayos at hindi rin naman kami mahirap but, you know, we lived a very comfortable life. We’re all working. We are all entrepreneurs. Mabait ang Diyos sa amin.”

Many times, in the news, Grace was seen seemingly “in good terms” with the two, older daughters of Iggy: Bianca Arroyo-Tantoco and Dina Arroyo. In fact, there’ve also been rumors that Grace allegedly brainwashed the two to turn against Aleli.

“Boy, matatanda na sila. Bianca is 36 and Dina is 28, sa palagay mo mabe-brain wash ko pa ‘yung dalawang matalinong batang ‘yun?” she asked.

“Don’t underestimate them. Ako ang tingin ko, Boy, ang pagmamahal, sinusuklian ng pagmamahal,” Grace claimed.

On ‘loving’ Iggy


Controversy aside, the same daughters claimed that they are not siding with either of the two women in Iggy's life. What they pointed out in their past interviews was that they've witnessed how Grace “loved” and “cared” for their father very much.

Asked how much she “loved” the late congressman, Grace's, straightforward response was: “He was my life.”

“He loved me. Meron pa bang mas mahigit do’n, Boy?" Grace said. "Unconditionally, at minahal niya rin ‘yung mga anak ko. Kapag mabigat ang pakiramdam ko, sa kanya ako tumatakbo. He was my knight in shining armor.”

In her “Buzz” interview last week, Grace’s eldest daughter Garrie Concepcion tearfully recalled how much her “Dada” loved them. With this, Boy asked Grace why she thinks her children loved Iggy so much.

“We were a family, Boy, plain and simple. We were an unorthodox family, but we were a family,” Grace underscored.

She even shared that her youngest daughter even “volunteered” to give her liver in order for her Dada to live.

According to her, everyday that she was with Iggy was their “best time” together. But the darkest and most challenging times in their relationship came when Iggy had to undergo treatment for his disease.

“The treatment was a radical treatment, specifically to cure that particular disease. And there would be days that he was okay and there were days that he was not. May mga side effects kasi 'yung gamot that was really bad.

“Minsan gusto niyang mag-give up pero sinasabi niya, ‘I want to live for you.’ Sinasabi niya sa mga kaibigan namin sa London na naaawa na siya sa akin kasi ako lang daw ang nakakapagtiis nung different phases that he was going through,” Grace recalled in tears.

Finally, Grace was asked for her message to her late partner.

“Why so soon? I’ll miss you everyday of my life. And thank you, thank you sa lahat lahat. Salamat for giving me the best years of my life and I was blessed and I want to thank God for it," she directed her message to Iggy.

She added, “It’s hard, Boy. Lalo na kung namimiss mo ‘yung tao. Mahirap nang makahanap ng ganong pagmamahal, Boy. Mahirap talaga. Ang hirap makahanap ng soul mate, best friend at the same time. Iggy was my gift. He was the best gift.”

To her critics, Grace said, “Alam niyo kung sa ibang tao kasalanan ‘yung ginawa ko na magmahal, sorry, pero hindi ko pinagsisisihan because ‘yung pagkakamaling ‘yun brought me joy.”

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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