Some of us remember seeing Kris Aquino from as early as when she was a cute seven-year old girl campaigning for her imprisoned father who was running for a parliamentary seat in 1978. Some of us who grew up in the 80s remember her as she insinuated herself in the limelight post-EDSA, planting herself in the realm of show business that will be her world from then on.
Nicko Falcis, on the other hand, we didn’t know from Adam—until Kris Aquino introduced the boyish-looking now 35-year old accountant via her social media channels. He was the beloved managing director of her Kris C. Aquino Productions (KCAP) until he wasn’t. Last October, Kris filed qualified theft complaints against Nicko, accusing him of using her credit card to purchase personal items instead of paying KCAP suppliers. “Why would you do that to me after I gave you everything that I had?” the social media star asked on her Instagram.
On Friday, January 4, Nicko finally broke his silence on the accusations with a personal statement. He denied that he stole P1.2 million from Kris using a credit card issued in his name, and said he had not been paid about “P9 million worth of commissions.” He expressed his outrage over Kris’s statements that he stole “hundreds of millions” from her kids’ trust fund. He said he worked very hard to transform her company into a digital brand, and that because of the endorsement deals he was able to close for her, she was expected to earn more than P200 million by end of 2018. He claimed he would assume the role of her personal assistant many times “even if I was not compensated for going beyond the call of duty.” He was “forced to seek refuge” in another country because he said she threatened to have him killed. He quoted a phone conversation that had Kris allegedly shouting, “Gusto mong bumalik sa Pilipinas? Dare to step in this country, and you will be dead.”
How their relationship turned sour surprised many, especially because she was generous with praise for him in public. “This person is responsible for helping me pick up the shattered pieces of me, not afraid of getting himself bloodied along the way,” she said on the occasion of him finishing his master’s degree. “And together I feel we did a good job because the new me came out a better & stronger version.”
Under an IG photo of her sitting beside Nicko on a plane flying to Singapore for a KCAP planning trip, she wrote, “This man w/me has been so instrumental in piloting my 2017 journey—I owe him not just my gratitude but my lifelong loyalty because @nix722”—Nicko’s IG handle—“is my northern star.”
How did she go from these expressions of endearment to filing a complaint that demands damages of close to P32M and allegedly threatening his life?
“I allowed Ms. Aquino to treat me this way because I made the mistake of treating her like family,” Nicko said in his January 4 statement.
From med school to business
We know the Aquinos. But who were the Falcises? And who is this Nicko?
To get to know the guy, we messaged him in early December to ask if we could do an interview with him. He agreed just as long as he didn’t have to talk about the case. He asked for sample questions which he readily answered via email.
Nicardo “Nicko” Falcis III grew up in Quezon City, on “the edge of Welcome Rotonda,” he wrote, “very near Lourdes Shrine.”
Lourdes Shrine was where he got his primary and secondary education. His father, NIcardo Falcis Sr., was a civil engineer, and his mother Carol is an oncologist. Mrs. Falcis required all of her children to take up courses that led to board exams. And they can also only choose between two schools to enroll in: U.P., where their dad graduated, and UST, where their mother graduated.
Nicko’s older sister finished her BS Industrial Engineering course in UP, and his younger brother finished his law degree in the same university. Nicko, the middle child, was expected to be the next doctor in the family. He passed the UPCAT pre-med course, BS-Physical Therapy in UP Manila. “At first, I thought becoming a doctor is easy as I can memorize and easily remember everything,” he told ANCX. “However, during my freshman year, the sight of blood during our Natural Science subject made me so afraid to pursue my course. I begged and cried to my mom that I can’t become a doctor, since by the time we go into our sophomore year, we’ll be dissecting cats already!”
But to heed his parents’ request to keep it between UP and UST, Nicko transferred to UP in Diliman where he took up BS-Business Administration & Accountancy which had a CPA Board Exam. “I would have wanted BS-Mathematics but there’s no board exam,” he added.
Nicko is a proud Iskolar ng Bayan. “UP shaped my core ideals and loyalty to our country,” he told us. As coach and teacher at the Cesar EA Virata School of Business in UP Diliman, people regard him "as a purist, demanding only the best from my students as they give back to the nation through honor and excellence in all the things we do.”
Like mother, like son
Growing up, his mother often told him and his siblings that they are all winners, Nicko said in a feature on him that appeared in a paper while he was at HKUST-NYU doing his masters in Global Finance. “I can confidently say that I’m the quintessential yet most responsible middle child, who always seeks validation, craves for attention and pleases the whole nation.”
Being born into a family of achievers, there was constant motivation to live up to the laurels earned by his siblings. “I get my pragmatism from my mom as she always tells us never to complain about life and that we should always be grateful for what we have.”
Mrs. Falcis is the family breadwinner. Nicko's father was diagnosed with Stage 1 head and neck cancer in 2001. He lived for a few more years after, with his doctor wife treating and nursing him to recovery. Despite this, Mr. Falcis passed away in 2008 from Stage 4 lung cancer when the disease recurred.
“My mom shows no exhaustion as she does it all, balancing her professional demanding medical career and family responsibilities,” Nicko said in the same academic feature. “She always makes us feel that we can do basically everything. So even if I’m not the brightest in the family, I still choose to be my most productive self. I’ve accepted the simple fact in my family that I may never be the best, but I somehow manage to always stand out. I love to compete against everyone, myself included with a huge smile on my face, so I can continuously check my progress and performance to preserve my independent world of high standards.”
If there is any similarity between Kris and Nicko, it is their great admiration for their mothers, and their great need to make them proud. Nicko’s proudest moment was getting his Master’s Degree in Global Finance. “Growing up, I have never imagined myself to go to an international university, using up my life savings,” he recalled. “Seeing my mom’s proud eyes when I received my Masters Degree last May, 2018 at NYU Stern is the BEST feeling ever.”
Nicko’s early dream of becoming a doctor comes from his mother being a doctor. But while life led him to business management and accountancy, it can’t be denied that he did, in a way, follow in his mother’s footsteps in trying to be all and everything in his career, just like his “do it all” mother.
“I’ve always thought I’d stick it out in corporate as a manager who will climb the best ladders, starting out as a sales manager,” wrote Nicko. “But being a teacher and entrepreneur, I developed further my selling skills and got to apply it in the most extreme cases – I’ve sold fragrances and beauty products (L’Oreal), petroleum (Shell, Caltex), potatoes (Potato Corner) and even people (as a teacher and as an agent)!”
It is perhaps from the example of Dr. Falcis that “doing it all” comes naturally for her son. “Over the years, I’ve worked hard enough to become the jack of all trades, and well, master of some in the management world,” Nicko said when we asked him to tell us briefly about his young professional career.
Being challenged as a gay man
In the HKUST-NYU feature, Nicko was asked to describe a situation where he faced a particular difficulty either in his work or personal life. He recounted his challenging early days as a gay man in the very alpha-male dominated environment of a company he joined at 23.
“No one told me that being in the alpha-male dominated petroleum world would become my biggest personal and professional challenge as a young gay,” he said in the feature. “I literally cried every day during my first month as I adjusted to the alpha-male culture of Shell.”
He said he would hear jokes and snide remarks that he didn’t fit in, that he was “a pity hire for an all-inclusive HR statistic." He said they put him "In stereotyped roles because of my sexuality – I was made to dance and act the girl roles during company activities. Unfortunately for them, as the most competitive person in our family, I was up for the challenge to be the best.”
But he paid his dues, even going the extra mile and clocking 80-hour work weeks. He was in the office by 7AM to accomplish customer reports, and the next hours he dedicated to field work. By 5PM he was back in the office to study all the professional sales techniques and technical knowledge in the company intranet. He became more collaborative with his team, seeking to hear their experiences and listen to their wisdom. An avowed nerd, he made use of this by becoming the go-to resource for information.
“Immediately, my team saw my value and respected my uniqueness. Within a year, I emerged as the top Area Manager, with the full support of my team! I assumed higher roles in Shell, jumping 2 sales levels within 3 years,” Nicko recalled in the feature. “The rest was history. Indeed, when they say ‘bees shouldn’t be able to fly,’ I can always tell them my story in Shell.”
It remains to be seen if all the negative statements that have been thrown at him over the last few months will hurt his reputation in the corporate world, or if it will break his spirit. Although based on his statement Friday, he hardly sounds defeated. Perhaps having a strong support system helps. The past few months have been a difficult time not only for Nicko but also for his family. “Our family is very small but our closeness can never be questioned,” he said when asked if his family is really a tight-knit one, or the case against Nicko just happened to bring them especially closer now. “My family does not have a big name. My siblings and I saw a lot of hardships growing up, since our dad was laid off early and permanently during tough times in the 80s, and my mother worked very hard as the breadwinner to put me and my siblings through school.
“I graduated as a scholar with honors from the best university of our country. In turn, I dedicated a significant part of my career as an educator, coach and accounting and management consultant to local and emerging Filipino companies. I’m just as proud of my sister and brother, as we all became professionals, fulfilling the dream and vision of my parents.”
Photographs courtesy of Nicko Falcis except image with Aquino and snapshot of affidavit.
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