In what universe is Kris Aquino “api”? In what country can she be called hero? Not in this one where she has the gall to talk about her jewelry as “katas ng Hacienda Luisita”; where she has the audacity to talk about owning, and actually encourages us all to buy, 13,000-peso jeans (because they fit really well!); where she says of making commercials: “Wala lang, nagpapayaman lang”; and where, unhappy with her body, she has her boobs enhanced and her waist trimmed, and brags about it.
I understand the value of a woman of her stature coming out in the open about a violent relationship. I understand that she may be speaking for the 6 out of 10 women who are battered every day. But let’s be clear about something here: Kris was NOT a meek woman in this relationship. She was a powerful woman, she was hitting back. “Nagkakasakitan kami”, not “Sinasaktan ako”, an admission that she herself could be violent.
Of course there is absolutely no excuse for any man to hurt a woman physically, but this assumes that the women of this world have yet to turn violent on their men, and this presupposes that women do not and cannot tell lies about domestic violence. In the world beyond feminist and women’s liberation theory, in the real world where Kris Aquino and I live, not all women who cry wolf aren’t wolves themselves. Tell me how powerless Kris Aquino is when she has the sense to burn their bed and grab Marquez’s balls. Tell me why it isn’t possible that a woman of Aquino’s standing could threaten to ruin another person’s career and thereby prove that people will believe her more than any other.
Please. Let us not paint Kris Aquino as the victim here. It is she who made a victim of Alma Moreno and her kids; she made a victim of Joshua, she made victims of Cory Aquino and Noynoy Aquino. Most of all she made a victim of us all – her public, who swallowed her truth-telling act, her my-life-is-an-open-book dramatics, and who did not mind that she made a lot of money out of it. She said she was beating Marquez’s camp to the punch by talking about the violent relationship, the emotional battering, the STD; she said Marquez was out to ruin her credibility. I ask: what credibility? She herself ruined it. She had made us believe all this time that she was okay sa alright! – never mind the rules she was breaking. She had made us believe that she was THE woman of the millennium, the woman of achievement that we should emulate, and hers the life of the rich and famous that we should all aspire for. And now she hides behind the idea na “Tao lang, nagkakasala”? She sold us lies about her life, and now she’s being allowed to hide behind the stereotype of a battered woman, meek and silent, which she isn’t?
Please. Let us not make Kris Aquino a woman’s hero on the basis of an incident that we haven’t heard both sides of. She could be telling the truth this time, but it shouldn’t elevate her to some women’s lib hall of fame. The number of women reporting domestic abuse may rise, but it shouldn’t mean that she is now the epitome of what a strong woman should be. Let us not forget that this woman, whom everyone from Atty. Katrina Legarda to Gabriela’s Lisa Masa would like to call hero, sells whitening soap to a land of morena women, encourages us all to get breast implants and liposuction, and has already abused another woman – Alma Moreno, by ruining her and her kids’ chance at a family – just because Joey Marquez could be the man for her. (A party-list organization has joined the fray and encouraged Kris to file an official complaint against Marquez through their “Report-A-Mistress Campaign” – e, sinong ire- report ni Kris, sarili niya?)
Utang na loob. Let us not be blind to what Kris Aquino already is and will continue to be after all of these. She’s a media person who rakes in millions of pesos making commercials that raise women’s material needs, who batters women’s confidence by telling them to get whiter, smell better, have more boobs, and who parades her jewels, expensive clothes and shoes – flaunting her wealth, literally and tastelessly – on nationwide television in this poor Third World nation. This Kris is not and should not be seen as separate or distinct from Kris Aquino “the battered live-in partner”. Kris Aquino is one woman, and she makes this whole nation live with and suffer her adolescent contradictions every time she washes her dirty laundry in our faces.
In no universe should Kris Aquino be considered hero. In no universe is Kris Aquino “api”. And it is only in this mababaw ang kaligayahan Kris Aquino country – where activists jump at any prospect of a tactical alliance and where advocacy groups fish for spokespersons – that she will in time rise again and wrap us all aroundher little finger yet again. That is, unless we keep her from doing so. Unless we stop all these personalities – from Fidel Ramos talking about Marquez’s political career to the Fortun brothers rising from Jose Velarde’s ashes – from gaining any more media mileage out of the controversy. Unless we all – including the media – get smarter and wiser about this unsolvable, and embarrassing, problem that is Kris.
Let’s start by looking at the real heroes in all of these.
Let’s look at the woman that Alma Moreno is. She who didn’t badmouth Kris when news broke about the latter’s affair with her husband. She who had the good sense to keep quiet for the sake of her and Marquez’s kids. She who has endured the violence wreaked on her family by Kris Aquino, and who continues to endure it, having to explain to her kids why they are being teased in school.
Let’s look at Noynoy Aquino and how he has handled this situation with well-chosen words for Kris but not against Joey. How he is being the big brother that he has said he is so many times in the past, even when Kris would talk about him on nationwide television as the bane of her existence. How he has not sensationalized the issue and has kept it on the level of a family crisis, letting women’s advocates take it for what they think it is.
We want anyone to gain from this? Let it be Noynoy. For if there’s any Aquino who deserves the limelight, who is intelligent and level-headed, who can truly say that he can do something for this country, whom we would like to see and hear more of – if there’s one Aquino of whom Ninoy can be proud, it is Noynoy.
Let Kris Aquino rest from the limelight. And give this poor nation a rest from Kris Aquino. (Mga ten years.)