Sunday, November 27, 2011


So what was supposed to be the first Sunday of Advent was somewhat disturbed when the much awaited interview was aired on commercial television.

The hype was created during the week. And although unfolding the details, where-and-why-and-how of what truly transpired in the much publicized love life of a high profile celebrity couple will not affect the course of Philippine economy or the fate of the beleaguered Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, most of Manila stopped.  Well, it was not of the same proportion as a Pacman fight aired via satellite but the emotional weight and anticipation were there.  

People were also waiting for someone to be knocked out if not flattened.

Indeed the Sunday afternoon burst into a frenzy at the social networks --- especially Facebook and Twitter.  Everyone had to have an opinion.  Most certainly every one had a conclusion.  But the intensely emotional interview was anti-climactic: it seemed like every one already knew where it was going. The question was how far would it go --- and, thank God, decency and discretion still ruled over what could have completely turned into a full-fledged three-ring ratings-friendly circus.  

Nothing blatant was said --- but everybody was reading between the lines. In a way, that was good.  This triggered the public's imagination --- ergo, titillation.  But, in so many other ways, this was really baaaaad for the other "party": the delivery of highly ambiguous statements invites the magic of implication and over-reading what is between the lines.  And when this happens --- you will read what you want to read.  You will see what you want to see.  You will confirm what you sought to confirm in the first place.

So let that be. A young and beautiful couple broke up.  It was not like this was a historic event.  There are other more painful and tragic stories of love except for the fact that this union came with such business like no other. Show business, that is. Add multi-million peso contracts to the pot.  Then, of course, there is the even larger investment of media institutions on the viability and marketability of the characters involved --- as individuals as well as a couple.  

That means far more interests than the act of public katharsis.  This is not as simple as a case study for re-enactment in an episode of Maalaala Mo Kaya?, right?  This coupling goes farther than the kilig of romance: this love affair involved investments. That is the best and the worst part of this whole affair. It is not only about these two young people --- this involved so much more.

There may be personal emotions involved --- a whole lot of it --- but the fact that Sunday stopped and gaped at a segment of an afternoon show meant something even more disturbing. The fact that the characters involved warranted trending in Twitter worldwide says even more.  The thin line between fantasy and real life has practically diminished: we are entertained and perhaps even more fascinated by the private lives of others rather than the fantasies they portray in their working hours.  

Come to think of it, even those who appear in front of the camera can no longer distinguish when the cameras are turned off or when to go back to their private selves.  Thus they forfeit the right to their privacy by giving access to the public to see, hear, feel and even tamper with their personal existence.  Right there and then they also open the doors for the public to demand that each and every cough, sneeze and burp be made available as information to everyone without discretion or caution. Nothing should be left to secrecy: private lives become public territory.

More even wonder why the Sunday afternoon public confession had to take place.  Some are all too sure that this was only for purposes of television ratings---or to stir enough interest to jump start the present state of the careers involved.  But this goes much farther than that. Since reading between the lines became the name of the game, the art of implication has become so vile and vicious for the public that indeed the interview became a certified "confirmation" of what was once merely speculated, whispered about and even assumed.  

In other words, presumption became fact.  The tear-drenched interview was turned into an indictment that generated comments that go, "Sabi na nga, eh." or even "Taka pa si Babae?" ...or worse, "Kasi naman patulan ba?". But regardless of how the larger public reacted, one thing was for sure: no one was really shocked ("Sus! Balita pa ba yan?").  Some were disappointed. Others were saddened --- not because of the "confirmation" but because a young woman found herself in that situation.  Worse yet, some were disgusted precisely because this young woman ended up in such a situation.

But nothing definite was really said. Nothing was irrefutably confirmed.  When you come to think of it, we are back to where we started --- speculating about something that really does not personally affect our lives but merely starves our malicious curiosity.

But the story does not end here.  What should be more interesting is the damage control that is yet to take place and what are the repercussions (OK, let us use the term implications) of the public confession to the careers of the said personalities.  When will the charades end ... or is this part of an even much larger machinery oiling its wheels?

Yet the bottom line seems to be plain and clear. Oh, come on: what we do in the privacy of our bedrooms has got nothing to do with how good we are in our line of work.  What we owe to the world is to be the best of what we can become --- but we do have our own private lives, you know --- and we also make an ambition out of being just happy.  

Unfortunately, if you loan your life to the public --- and if the curiosity of the larger number of people become the fuel to start the engines of your success, then you are doomed. You do not have a right to privacy ... and people judge you not for what they see you do but what they speculate you are doing the dark.

And that is also a very good reason to cry.

Saturday, November 19, 2011



  [am-biv-uh-luhns]  Show IPA
uncertainty or fluctuation, especially when caused byinability to make a choice or by a simultaneous desire to sayor do two opposite or conflicting things.
Psychology the coexistence within an individual of positiveand negative feelings toward the same person, objectoraction, simultaneously drawing him or her in oppositedirections.

I am taking off from the dictionary meaning of the term. That is exactly how I feel.  It is more of a collision of emotions.

I feel happy that finally a big fish is caught and has the prospects of landing in jail for electoral sabotage --- among other crimes accused of her as well as her kin and cohorts.

But I am not all that happy with the manner by which she was hauled off for detention amid loopholes, fast tracking of events and, worse, philosophizing deliberate violations of the law under the spirit of righteousness, zealotry and determination for reform.

Maybe it is just me. Or maybe there are also others.  But instead of feeling jubilant, I feel nervous instead.

I feel nervous because I know that if this can be done now with the justification that it is for the greater good of the State taking priority over the rights of an individual citizen, then circumventing the words of the law can be justified.  That is, deliberately ignoring the law (such as recognizing the autonomy of the Executive, Judiciary and Legislative bodies of a democratic government, such as respecting the orders from the Supreme Court, such as recognizing the demands of the State without any direct or indirect violation of human rights of its citizenry) or re-interpreting this in a manner convenient for the moment: these are not the manifestations of democracy, I believe.  

If handled clumsily and irresponsibly, a precedence has been set. These could be the preludes to giving ennobling reason to institutional crises.

Well, that is why there is a constitution, right?  That is why there are laws.

And when laws are tainted, bastardized and usurped by powers that claim authority, then there should be a proper way to correct it --- and not with compulsion branded as determination.  There are others who also agree with the "end" but could not completely approve of the "means" because they feel that there is an element of personal vengeance rather than righteous wrath in the flurry of fast track actions to prevent the ex-president from being wheeled out of the country --- wheelchair, neck brace and bad hair day.

Yes, we all have our doubts about the eight justices of the Supreme Court who approved of the TRO.  But are we really surprised that happened? We knew it was not only bound to happen but rather it will happen ... then there are some of us who gasp with utmost disgust. We knew that the past administration insured that the majority of the justices were her appointments --- and, you must give it to her, the Little Presidentita covered all the grounds possible in spite and despite of protestations.  Yes, we all screamed bloody murder when she made her midnight appointments just before she slithered into supposed oblivion ... but were we able to do anything to stop her? Nada.

And now that she is in this rather sad physical condition, the government is trying very hard to balance righteous indignation with public sympathy.  One thing you can say about Philippine politics, our sense of drama tends to overcome our hunger for reason.  

When the ex-president was wheeled into the airport using the front entrance and not the privileged areas leading straight to the diplomatic lounge, all sorts of telenovela scenarios exploded in the imagination of the madlang people.  There was nothing more dramatic than to see Little Gloria Shriveled on her wheelchair, wearing her braces and other concoctions making her resemble a piece of hand-carried luggage with wheels ready to be stored on the overhead compartment of the plane.  Mobbed by the press, she indeed looked sickly,vulnerable and pathetic --- which is perhaps the exact kind of media image needed for people to yield more easily to any act of forgiveness.  Is there contrition far worse than physical deterioration --- not unless the mob is demanding something more drastic --- like a public beheading by guillotine?

And isn't drama also a convenient tool used by the administration when it wants to get a message across?  

Isn't the insistence on the importance of mythology and the cult of personalities instrumental to the rise of the Son of Ninoy and Cory into his present position of power and responsibility?  Didn't media hype his role, putting him and his sisters in the natural order of Philippine history, to be symbols of reform and hope because of what their parents did decades before rather than what they have done to prove their competence or appropriateness in such roles? Isn't that whole mindset founded on tapping popular emotions rather than discriminating reason?

Again, there is nothing wrong with that. It only becomes wrong when it does not jive with what you have in mind ... or what you think is righteous.

Just for clarification: I am not an Arroyo fan.  

I never was.  Even if I was active in the anti-Erap movement which eventually ushered her into office, she was only there out of the law of succession and not by  deliberate selection. Well, even now that she is having her mug shots and fingerprints taken prior to detention, I will  not change my mind about what I really think about her.  Even before everyone else started questioning her brand of governance, I caught a glimpse of how she mastered the politics of compromise when she danced with the princes of the Church and condemned me as a pornographer for a film I made and was shown in Berlin.   Right there and then I knew that she was a brilliant but calculating woman who knew her moves and never leaves anything to chance.

True enough this let to her doing ... as well as un-doing.  True enough she is far smarter than an entire platoon of government officials (elected or appointed) who look like they are undergoing on-the-job training compared to the sense of calculation, precision and foresight this woman had about her political agenda ... and exit.

So I feel no sympathy for her. I am awed by her but I have no admiration for her. But I feel no happiness either for what has happened to her.

It is easier to let personal feelings guide how you would react to a given situation but any which way you look at it --- the situation is sad.  Years ago, Joseph Estrada was forcibly led out of the Palace then eventually incarcerated while Gloria Arroyo was sworn in as his successor. Seventeen months after her nine year rule as the fourteenth president of the republic, she received her warrant of arrest as she lay in bed in a suite at Saint Luke's Medical Center, strapped in a neck brace and surrounded by her family and lawyers.  Such is the humiliation even to do that whole shtick at the airport. There is such sadness in that.  

These are the men and women that the Filipino people elected to the highest office in the Republic. Thus the ambivalence.  No, maybe the sadness of what our country has become. Or what is trying to be. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Considering how dull and predictable local free television has become, one has to find a personal sense of excitement if not a very good reason not to be completely addicted to cable.

I mean, after watching True Blood or Game of Thrones --- add Modern Family  or 30 Rock and maybe throw in Falling Skies or even watching the umpteenth rerun of Lost, then you must exercise maximum tolerance and patience to live through a local telenovela where:
   a) Someone is suffering from amnesia.
   b) A parent is looking for a child lost a birth either by kidnap
      or very strange circumstances including alien abduction from
      creatures from a distant planet near the constellation Andromeda.
   c) The rich are such inhuman assholes who find great delight on
      insulting, demeaning and generally torturing the poor.
   d) Filipino actors are impersonating Mexican ... or, God forbid, 
      Korean performers ... in the winter.

But that is not the whole point of why I am pounding the keyboards.  That only serves as an overwrought premise.  The whole point is that sometimes the television commercials --- those thirty-second wonders --- or even the station seasonal promotions --- are far better than the shows themselves.

Yes, I have grown a fixation for commercials more than I have fondness for the shows I get to see.

Well, let's face it. ABS-CBN is quite infamous for coming up with highly creative, expensive and well thought out seasonal promotions. 

Whether they herald the big, beautiful summer in the country ... or the romance of the rainy season ... or, ho-ho-ho --- 'tis the season to be jolly, the Lopez network has finesse, technical know-how and such class to turn these roll call of their contract stars and talents into a world class visual delight.  These seasonal announcement is like a roll call or a call to arms where the entire posse of major talents and upstarts are primped up in multi-million peso set-ups and brought to all the imaginable locations as a show of unity and force.

It is your traditional pataasan ng ihi sort of thing that tends to fuel excitement to the network wars.  More like, show me yours and I will show you mind.

Then of course there are all these wonderful TVCs (television commercials for those out of the loop of such exclusive lexicon)that challenge the geniuses of advertising to pin an idea, celebrate an emotion and sell a product all in a span of thirty seconds.  Whether we like it or not, these flashes of endorsements and pronouncements affect the way we think --- and certainly the way we buy.  

Inasmuch as there is an entire craft in making tv shows then there must also be an entire mindset in the making of thirty or fifteen seconders to convince us that this brand of feminine hygiene product can definitely make someone more of a woman than the competitive brand.  Worse, this kind of skin whitener does not only facilitate that beautiful adventure into being a full-fledged albino but repackage a homo sapien into a entire different species.

But who says TVCs do not have their own flak.  Of late, very very few commercials have become memorable in the sense that they are talked about and valued beyond the intended recall of the product being promoted and endorsed.  Like really good tv shows, gone are the days of Jollibee's catchy I Love You, Sabado or the Close-Up commercials that launched a zillion careers including the I Love You, Piolo! that eventually gave the country a Toni Gonzaga.

Once in a while you come across a touching commercial like the Dad left behind by his OFW wife to take care of his little daughter serving fried chicken. Or the Mom who is berating her whimpering bunso while serving the same product.  Or the son who is taking extra care and caution in preparing the perfect coffee mix for his mother.  Yes, such touching glimpses into human situations reflecting that tender side of being Filipinos: they never fail to catch our attention.  Definitely these commercials leave a more lasting impression than those over-produced over-the-top thirty second visual assaults with celebrity endorsers.

Then there is the crop of duds that seemed to generate a completely different sense of recall. Well, if the rule of the game is that what is important then I guess upsetting, irritating or even disgusting the audience is a ploy that could also work.  More unforgivable than cheesiness is ...uh, stupidity.  There is greater room for forgiveness for something mundane and mediocre (and haven't we had enough of that with tv shows) but for something to be downright and outright stupid warrants a completely different response: that is one of revulsion. 

I posted a question on my Twitter account asking what my followers considered as the worst television commercial --- and the decision seemed to be unanimous.  Although the three-in-one coffee commercial succeeded in giving a vicious Last Song Syndrome (LSS) especially to kids (thereby certifying that oh-so-precious recall), apparently there is a sentiment shared by a great number of TV viewers.  They hated the commercial.

This contempt is somewhat understandable: haven't we just had enough of Glee rip-offs where people suddenly burst out in song employing really tacky Sunday noontime show choreography? Haven't we seen the whole principle of the musical pushed to the unimaginable limits with the hope of riding on to a trend?

Indeed there is nothing wrong with people suddenly bursting out in song and dance for this is a tradition that has been honored and time-tested throughout the history of Eastern and Western civilizations but ... Yes, there is a pre-requisite that the singing and dancing are palatable and not even merely tolerable.  With the case of this commercial greeting the gruesome downer of a morning then hopefully bringing sunshine and better disposition, the material succeeded in being such a celebration of dullness, bad choreography and being absolutely charmless.

No, I stand corrected: this commercial has all the appeal of a dental appointment for a root canal ... without the help of anesthesia. This could have been a dream sequence from the tv series Walking Dead.

Then there is still series of shampoo commercials that I, together with some other media practitioners as well as the madlang people, find so fake. To begin with, the writing is so particularly bad that it succeeds in asking one of the most stupid questions ever posed in twenty-first century mass media: What is the best age to be a woman?

I mean ... really?  I repeat ... really?  Try answering that question.

Or maybe the question was not so properly phrased that it has to require translation.  So for the sake of greater comprehensibility, should we deliver this in the national language to sound like: "Ano ang tamang edad para maging ganap na babae?" Still it sounds so vague. Or should this be rephrased as, "Ano ba ang wastong edad para maglandi ang isang babae?"  Hmmmm.  

When I posted this same query on my Facebook page, I elicited variety of reactions ranging from the sociological to the scientific to the downright whimsical and comical to even the stupid which is quite deserving of the question anyway.

The "right age to be a woman" could refer to:
(a) according to Brooke Shields in Blue Lagoon as that exact time when a female experiences her first menstruation.
(b) the precise moment when a mother finally tells her pubescent daughter that she has to start wearing training brassieres.
(c) when the little girl finally does not find the little boy all that disgusting and begins to wonder (at greater detail) the machinations of the birds and the bees.
or, worse, when the question is actually asked by a male:
(d) the proper psychological frame of mind for a transvestite to graduate from estrogen shots to booking a flight to Bangkok for a transgender operation.

As you can see, any which way you try to answer the question ... the answer will still come out as lame or unequivocally stupid.  Ah, why bother?

Yes, yes, yes: it is still a delight to see John Lloyd Cruz sell everything from paracetamol to shampoos and now adult powdered milk.  And regardless of what you think of her brother, the First Sister with the Second Nephew will still be on billboards, print ads and tv in various forms and reincarnations ("What's siksik, Mommy?"). That is the stuff celebrities ... and capitalism are made of so we have to accept this as part of the system.

But we still want to be challenged. We still want to be impressed. And perhaps all we are asking is that if they should try to convince us to buy products even to the extent of ramming these down our throats, maybe they should also put effort in at least trying to amuse us and avoid insulting our intelligence.

That is not asking for too much, is it? Even for thirty seconds.

Friday, November 11, 2011


One thing fascinating about my work is the variety of places when we do principal photography for films or tape episodes for television.

In my so many years in the business I have been to all sorts of exotic locales: the make-shift communities of informal settlers near an estero in Live Show (Toro), Las Ramblas at the heart of the most beautiful city of Barcelona in Sakal, Sakali, Saklolo,  Biri Island while shooting Richard Gomez and Dawn Zulueta in Iisa Pa Lamang or Ursula Island, the famed island where migratory birds settle for the night off Palawan when we shot Ikaw ang Lahat sa Akin.

But yesterday's shooting did not take me much farther than Malolos in Bulacan.  Come to think of it, Bulacan has ceased to be considered a location of distance considering the number of locals who commute to Manila as part of their daily routine.  Bulacan takes pride in its share of significant contributions to Philippines history --- for indeed it is one province that even until today still glistens with its gentility.

Even if the busiest section of the locale overflows with franchise fastfood restaurants, explodes with the same noise pollution as you find anywhere from Libertad in Pasay to the Kamuning public market, there is still something different about Bulacan because of its cultural history. It is one place that, though tainted by the vulgarity brought about by commercial progress, still possesses a sense of pride because of what it was and what it shall always be not only to its homegrown constituents.

Shooting My Househusband brought us to one of the most beautiful and well-preserved ancestral homes in Malolos.

The house is a modest marvel of late 19th century woodwork architecture designed specifically for our tropical weather as it is situated right on the banks of a river.  This is the house of the grandparents of the iconic performer Joey de Leon.  I never knew he was from Bulacan --- more so the richness of his ancestry and the fact that his roots point to authentic Filipino illustrado blood.

But more than the fascination of this discovery is the beauty of the house.

That is one perk of my work: I am never confined to one place and I am given a chance to move around and absorb wherever my movies-in-the-making take me.  I have a long-drawn love for tangible memories of the past as I have taken interest in antique furniture and paraphernalia.  This is probably why moving around the old house touched a sensitive nerve deep inside me.

Nobody lives in the house any more except a caretaker.

He said that the house was built in 1900 --- which makes the residence 111 years old.  Ever since the death of the last of the family occupants in 1996, the house has been left under the care of the caretaker and his family.  But there is more than just a sense of responsibility but more of pride --- pride for being the guardian of a house that was apparently built out of love, occupied by a family who breathed more than just life but meaning to every corridor and room --- more so, decorated every wall with traces of memories.

For on the walls were photographs of the residents from the past --- sepia portraits of men and women at a time when the world was less complicated and manners, propriety and decorum were of utmost importance.  The caretaker's son even went out of his way to show me an exceptional photograph secured in the wooden art nouveau frames so representative of the time: it was a photograph of Joey de Leon's relative, standing a few feet away from Emilio Aguinaldo and the stalwarts of Malolos at the time of the First Philippine Republic. Now that was Philippine history for you.

But then again as I looked around the house and the area surrounding it, a certain settled in me.

The river once pristine that flowed behind the residence has turned into a canal with murky dark green water.  The caretaker, who must be in his early seventies, said that when he was a small boy he remembered the household helps drawing water from the river to use for washing and rinsing laundry. Now it has been diminished to the same sad state as most waterways in the city, practically incapable of supporting any life aside from scavenger aquatic creatures that can survive such levels of dirt.

Then I noticed that this beautiful house that sat by the river is now surrounded by tall gray concrete buildings and firewalls made of hollow blocks smeared by murky grime.  I imagined that 111 years ago this house actually breathed --- it stood amid the flow of fragrant wind and sparkling river water, of beautiful foliage and a frenzy of colorful flowers.  

But all that is gone.

Malolos has changed ... and the de Leon house looks like some speck preserved and lost in time. The house has been so pushed to the back that to reach this priceless piece of history, one needs to squirm through eskinitas with a make-shift karaoke bar right at the very front.

And even as I looked around the house I realized that indeed it was empty.  I looked at the photographs of all those who gave and felt so much love in these rooms, sat on these chairs, leaned out from these windows ... and they are all gone. Except for their faces frozen from some millisecond of light at a time far away and also forgotten --- they have just been diminished to still lives and ... yes, photographs.

It is even more perplexing to think that the lives of deceased relatives are simplified by anecdotes that run a few sentences.  Life has a way of summarizing people who were very much a part of who we are into a few sentences as if an entire lifetime can be made accessible such as that. I often wondered --- how many people remember their great grandparents' names --- so I went around my staff asking if they still knew the name of the grandfather of their grandfather.  

Not a single one did.

Yet if it were not for these men who we do not even remember --- who we do not even acknowledge with a specific name --- we wouldn't be here at all.  

Such is the cruelty of time inasmuch as this is the inevitability of life going on and not waiting for anyone.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


We were appalled, to say the least.

Almost two weeks have elapsed since the gruesome events during the last hour of the 28th of October.  Since then the public imagination and curiosity have been tickled beyond belief --- or disbelief.  We have read about such unspeakable events or caught them in the news but when this involved high-profile people gravitating around that wondrous world of politics and show business, we are still left speechless.

If the characters involved were the most common of the common --- or say the kind you find giving spice and bite to shows like Face to Face, then this would have flown over our heads. Judgmental and prejudiced as this may sound --- but we would not be surprised.  But since this event involved a prominent family who takes pride in being rich, powerful and beautiful, we cannot fathom how such crimes could have possibly happened.

At age twenty-three, Ramgen Revilla --- son of Don Ramon Revilla (whose agimat has displayed such great power in being the royal family of Cavite as well as the head of a clan comprised of eighty children from sixteen women) and half-brother of Senator Bong Revilla --- was shot and stabbed to death right inside the sanctity of his bedroom.  His girlfriend, Janelle Manahan, was also shot under the right eye but survived the ferocious attack.

But even as we all started playing junior sleuths, piecing together events fed as information, a shocking twist literally knocked us off our feet.  Who should be implicated as the mastermind of the crime but two of Ramgen's younger siblings --- Ramona and RJ --- with ages twenty-two and eighteen.  Yes, eighteen!  

We all thought this was not possible. You could not even include twists such as these in prime time telenovelas because no amount of fantastic plot manipulation can justify the sheer audacity and immorality of such an act.  Yeah, yeah, yeah ... we all know that man, despite his evolution, education and so-called spirituality will still succumb to the temptation of money.  We even have such convenient and sweeping statements such as "there are no friends and relatives when it comes to money."  Point well taken.

But still the thought of two younger siblings willing to pay two hundred thousand bucks to hired killers to eliminate their eldest brother makes one think too many questions all together.  Inasmuch as it is equally wrong to be judgmental or to breathe certainty into events that still require clarification and verification, we are still very, very disgusted. No, dismayed!  To quote someone watching the news as the police put together the pieces of the puzzle, "Anong klaseng mga tao yan?"

Better yet --- is this really, really possible?  

Somehow it is no longer a matter of who was killed by whom --- but more of a question of why.  Better yet, when we remove the veil of fiction and realize that we are dealing with facts --- we are made to confront a vicious interpretation of the word evil. And we cannot believe that this should happen to the rich and powerful.  Or should we even be surprised at all?

Reviewing the private history of the affluent and powerful could jolt us into realizing that they may be different --- but they are also no different from us.  The rich are capable of the same crimes and misdemeanors --- and even worse perversions and aberrations because some of them believe in entitlement.

Entitlement is tantamount to the privilege of being not only immoral but somewhat amoral because given the right chance and circumstances --- they can get away with --- uh, murder.

Again we react with the same degree of disgust as we re-examine what has become of us in terms of our values and beliefs.  The more we learn from the updates and investigations, the more disgusted we become as we find out that the root cause of all this bloodshed is simply money.  Money among the rich.  No, it is not even money for survival --- as a stolen loaf of bread from the bakery to feed a hungry family.  

If we should believe all these accounts and interpolations from those close to the siblings, it was about allowances and cars.  It is about rich kids who knocked off their kuya because they wanted more money or whatever. And this disgusts us even further.  

No, this not a crime brought about by the challenges for survival: this is about over-privileged spoiled brats who believed they were miserable --- and there was only one solution to end all that.  Control + Alt + Delete.

So again, we ask ourselves: is this possible?  Can two kids really do this to their older brother?

Our junior sleuth-ing was challenged even more when Ramona did not exactly slip away from the country to fly to Hong Kong en route to Istanbul.  Somehow doubts were seemingly confirmed but then even more questions were borne out of that surreal development. 

The young woman checked into the airport at 6:30PM and flew out of the country at around 9 in the evening --- and in the distance of two and a half hours (with news flashes being aired on TV that she was flying out of the country), nobody was able to stop her or hold her because she had no restraining order?  OK. I guess people were too busy that night trying to figure out if Ramona's mother is indeed the same starlet who used to appear in Kuya Germs' That's Entertainment.  Even if the whole country knew she was in the airport about to fly off to Turkey, people just watched. OK.  We will take it at that.

And for someone who wanted to be as inconspicuous and unnoticed as she slipped out of the country, Ramon really had a taste for the dramatic, veiling herself with a lipstick red scarf and impersonating Little Red Riding Hood in a Departure Lounge full of wolves.

It was just that this story was turning more and more surreal. This has turned out to be the best telenovela aired on all networks ... including cable channels. Thus we are not even thinking of ex-President Gloria looking like R2D2 in her ridiculous neck braces that looks like a snow sled. We couldn't even find the humor in that ...because we are all focused on this two-week old murder mystery.

Careers in show business and politics are at stake.  The most private of family secrets are suddenly flung to the arena of the carnivorous public who would gnash their teeth on any available explanation or rumor.  Reputations are questioned, mocked and ruined. And the news bits keep on coming.

In the meantime, Ramgen Revilla --- who has not even reached the prime of his life --- lay quietly in his coffin six feet underground and pleading for justice.  

At whatever cost. We may be feverish with curiosity and sick with disgust ... but a young man was slaughtered right in his bedroom. Regardless of who he was or why he was butchered, there shall be no peace unless there is justice.  We remind ourselves that this is real life we are dealing with ... and not some convoluted piece of fiction meant to gather ratings and provide a means of escape from our dreary lives.  This is real life, Folks.  There is an immediate need for justice.

Evident and transparent justice. This is more than just a murder in a rich and powerful family.