Kris Aquino is a very generous friend. Earlier this month, she gave her best friend television host Boy Abunda a Hummer. For those not in the know, a Hummer is a tank-like, sports utility vehicle car manufactured by General Motors. It’s considered a luxury vehicle – a second-hand, 2003-model can go for a minimum of P1 million on the buy and sell site Olx.com, to P3.5 million. Only the most rabid car enthusiasts will be able to tell the difference between the models, but what’s clear is that this is one heck of an expensive car.
Anyway, Kris, the soul of generosity herself, gave Abunda a new Hummer as a birthday gift. In her caption to the photo she posted on Instagram, she explained, “Because he is my best friend, because I’m so grateful he’s alive & because I want to make him happy. I gave Boy the Hummer tonight after A&A (note: A&A stand for “Aquino & Abunda” their nightly talk show). Uulitin ko, kulang pa this gift because sobra sobra ang pagmamahal, pagtiwala at pag aasikasong naibigay at patuloy na binibigay nya sa kin.” Kris posted on Monday, September 15.
So yun naman pala. It was a gift of love. In the wake of reports about the Hummer gift, public reaction varied from the shocked, to the appalled, to the celebratory. Many expressed happiness for Kris and Abunda, saying that it was wonderful that the two have such a strong friendship.
On the Philippine show business website Pep.ph, a certain commenter randylove posted “Kahit ganyan si Kris, yong pagiging taklesa niya , mapagbigay yan sa mga minamahal niya. Tapos pag may away or di pagkakaintindihan sa kaibigan di siya nagba-bad mouth, no comment lang siya katulad ng nangyari sa kanila ni Ai-Ai. Maingay lang si Kris pag tungkol sa mga guys na dinidate niya hahaha..pero pag friends na kagalit di mo siya mariringgan ng negative comments. Meron din siyang positive qualities.
Another commenter Kalashnikov also gave his two centavos’ worth and focused on practical issues: “Pag nilihim ng mga artista sa publiko ang buhay, nagagalit ang fans dahil public property daw sila. Pag open book naman sa public ang mga gifts at padulas nagagalit pa rin ang fans for being walang delikadesa. Damn if you do, damn if you don’t. Saan na lulugar si Kris? Kailangan i-publicize lahat dahil yan ang source of income nila! Paano sila pag usapan kung lahat done in closed doors? Mileage din yan. Nagtiyatiyaga nga sa bad publicity, eto pa kaya na EGO publicity. Kaya ni Kris i-shower ng material gifts ang friends nya. She just wants to send a message to the public na “If you stay loyal to me, I will give you diamonds and a Hummer.” Ganyan sya kabait. So sana leave them alone. Masaya silang dalawa!”
On the other hand, balitangpepster said that the public announcement of the Hummer gift was “very tacky.”
“Bakit kailangan pang ipamalita sa public. Para bang pag nagbigay ako ng regalo sa friend ko na naka-recover sa breast cancer tapos inanounce ko sa Facebook exactly kung ano yung binigay ko….di ba ang sagwa pakinggan? Iamtheeye agreed and wrote “The arrogance, the superficiality and shallowness of this woman is beyond human.”
[quote_center]Bakit kailangan pang ipamalita sa public. Para bang pag nagbigay ako ng regalo sa friend ko na naka-recover sa breast cancer tapos inanounce ko sa Facebook exactly kung ano yung binigay ko….di ba ang sagwa pakinggan?[/quote_center]
Pinoynapinoy123 gave a short lecture on manners: Hayaang ang tumanggap naman ang magbalik sayo ng pasasalamat.. Let him do his part or not at all; ang mahalaga nagbigay ka at napasaya mo. Hindi dapat ito magmula sa nagbigay para ianunsiyo naa hello — eto bigay ko ke ganun.. Walng sincerity sorry. Dapat si Boy ang nag-nnounce, kaso nope! Taklesa tlga.
A reaction from a certain Xray, took into consideration the environment: “Sana pinili niya yung hindi gas guzzler. afford nila ang gasolina, pero for environmental purpose sana, she should have picked something na gas efficient.”
So okay, it’s Kris’ right to express her love for her best friend. It’s her right to give him an extravagant gift. But given the wretched state of the nation (no thanks to her brother) – the widespread poverty, the relentless agony suffered by millions of Filipinos unable to eat three healthy meals a day, access healthcare, provide their children a stable roof over their heads—given all these and the fact that she is a presidential sister and the daughter of a man who once said “The Filipino is worth dying for”, what kind of, ok, morality does Kris Aquino have?
Her morality is the sort that sees nothing wrong about giving away Hummers while the victims of the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines have yet to receive substantial assistance from her own brother’s government. Hers is the kind of morality that is comfortable with flaunting personal wealth (and yep, even ill-gotten wealth – more on this later) when so many Filipinos can only weep as their own children die from the simplest diseases.
[quote_center]Her morality is the sort that sees nothing wrong about giving away Hummers while the victims of the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines have yet to receive substantial assistance from her own brother’s government.[/quote_center]
Can it be said that the values of Kris Aquino reflect the values of this government – callous to the plight of the poor; indifferent to the social realities suffered by the majority; and mainly all talk but very little substance?
Pero sige, karapatan nyang mamigay ng Hummer. Inggit lang tayo.
To be fair, Kris Aquino’s not the only “celebrity” to flaunt their wealth even as the rest of the Philippines starves – even if she is the most vocal and even vulgar about it. And also, she is said to donate to different causes and charities.
For instance, it’s been reported that she makes regular substantial donations to such institutions as Gawad Kalinga, World Vision and the Philippine Red Cross (PRC). For Gawad Kalinga, she gave enough funds for the construction of at least 10 houses for poor families. She is also said to sponsor children assisted by World Vision to access education and health facilities. She’s also visible during relief missions of her home network during calamities and reportedly donates substantial amounts to the PRC.
Finally, she is also said to donate her own luxury items to fund the charities she supports.
Through it all, however, it’s just too freaking unfortunate that she does not and will never support those in her own, literal, backyard – the farmworkers of Hacienda Luisita.
Last April, Kris laughed off media reports on the plight of Hacienda Luisita. The farmworkers burned effigies of her and her brother during a protest action marking the second anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ruling that Luisita land should be distributed and the government’s failure to implement the order. Kris shrugged off the protests by saying that they were but “part and parcel of life.”
Is it known to her fans that she is one of the directors of the Central Azucarera de Tarlac (CAT) sugar mill in Hacienda Luisita, and that the CAT is among several corporate fronts of the Cojuangco-Aquino family that implements aggressive landgrabbing actions?
According to reports from agrarian reform advocates in Hacienda Luisita, it was in March this year when the CAT started evicting farmers from 214 hectares of agricultural land in Barangays Central, Mapalacsiao and Parang by bulldozing crops and fencing off these areas, preventing the farmers from continuing their efforts to make the land productive.
In a statement, the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and the Hacienda Luisita Peasant Supporters Network, Kris cannot escape accountability by simply denying or ignoring her family’s grave crimes against Luisita farmers.
[quote_center]In fact, Kris and the rest of President BS Aquino’s sisters all have business interests in Hacienda Luisita, according to SEC records. Besides Kris, all the other Aquino sisters are stockholders of the CAT[/quote_center]
“Her denial of any responsibility by claiming that she has already left the CAT exposes her insensitivity and indifference to relentless violent attacks wrought by her family to Luisita farmworkers,” the groups said. They asserted further that the media and the public can always look into e-records at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to confirm that Kris is still an active member of the CAT’s Board of Directors.
“In fact, Kris and the rest of President Aquino’s sisters all have business interests in Hacienda Luisita, according to SEC records. Besides Kris, all the other Aquino sisters are stockholders of the CAT,” they explained.
Eldest Aquino daughter Maria Elena “Ballsy” Aquino-Cruz is the treasurer of the Tarlac Development Corporation (TADECO). TADECO is behind the continuing series of acts of harassment, unlawful arrests and violent eviction of farmworker-beneficiaries in Hacienda Luisita. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Luisita Realty Corporation (LRC) where the two other Presidential sisters Aurora Corazon “Pinky” Aquino-Abellada and Victoria Elisa “Viel” Aquino-Dee are also top stockholders. The LRC is behind the illegal Luisita Ecozone Project which is the cause of TADECO and CAT’s aggressive land grab efforts. According to UMA, if completely implemented, this project may cause the wipe-out of the whole agricultural community in Hacienda Luisita.
As for their brother Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III or BS for short, his 2010 presidential bid was bankrolled by his sisters Kris (Php 15M), Pinky (Php 5M) and Ballsy (Php 3M), and other relatives such as Luisita kingpin Peping Cojuangco’s daughter Josephine Guingona (Php 5M who is also a director of the LRC; and TADECO stockholder Josephine Reyes (Php 5M).
Are we too naïve to believe then that Kris et al do not have anything to do with the worsening situation of thousands of farmers, farmworkers and their families in Hacienda Luisita as they are denied justice and their very rights? And let’s not even discuss the issue of the 2004 Hacienda Luisita Massacre where seven were killed and 121 others injured. No justice has been given the victims and their families.
So for Kris, no Hummers or Rolexes for the Hacienda Luisita farmers. And nevermind their own children – many of whom cannot go to school for want of financial means.
In the end, Kris has always been someone many people love to hate. She is a walking (and talking talking talking) contradiction. She’s supposed to be intelligent, a wide reader, educated at one of the best universities in the country, but she makes the most stupid mistakes ever like admitting to all and sundry that she contracted a venereal disease from a former live-in partner. This is a woman so self-absorbed that she interviews Hollywood actor Andrew Garfield and tell him that her son Bimby’s movie “My Little Bossings” made more money that Garfield’s “The Amazing Spider-Man.”
[quote_center]This is a woman who is so self- obsessed with herself that she produced a magazine and named it after herself, its contents are on what she wears, where she travels, what she likes to eat, what she does on her spare time.[/quote_center]
This is a woman who is so self- obsessed with herself that she produced a magazine and named it after herself, its contents are on what she wears, where she travels, what she likes to eat, what she does on her spare time. This is a woman who, despite her intelligence, fails to understand that there is something innately wrong with the way she often talks to and about people: she cuts them off in mid-sentence, she makes personal (read ‘insulting’) comments about what they’re wearing, how their hair looks, etc.
Everyone has the right to live their own life the way they want to when they’re not really hurting anybody, but to hear Kris – especially when she’s giving her “ideas” and “insight” on current events and national issues such as the deep-seated corruption in her brother’s government – will make the most peace-loving man or woman want to commit murder.
When her mother died, Filipinos felt sorry for her. There were those who gave her the benefit of the doubt that thought the experience would change her, make her calmer somehow, less tactless. But it didn’t. A few short weeks after Mrs. Cory Aquino’s death, Kris went on her usual shrill, tactless and rude self on TV. When slighted, she weeps and reminds people that her father was shot on the tarmac and her mother passed away and that she is “not a bad person really” and that she “loves this country.” She also promises to leave showbiz for the sake of her two sons and to prevent dragging her already unpopular brother-president into more scandals.
She has made this same promise at least three times but she’s still everywhere, wearing her jewelry and designer clothes which she once declared to be “katas ng Hacienda Luisita”.
No, Kris – the rest of us will never get Hummers or Rolexes from you, but you can give something just as if not more valuable: your silence.