When everything was roses. Photograph courtesy of Nicko Falcis
Culture Spotlight

In the words of Kris Aquino (in case you missed her FB Live)

After Nicko Falcis broke his silence on the theft cases filed against him by Kris Aquino, the former TV host took to FB Live to air her side of the story—with three powerful lawyers in tow. Below is an account of the pertinent issues aired by Aquino and her legal counsel on the social media platform.
Bam Abellon | Jan 10 2019

In December 2018, Nicardo “Nicko” M. Falcis II, the fomer managing director of Kris Cojuangco Aquino Productions (KCAP), returned to the Philippines after being accused by Kris Aquino, of allegedly stealing millions of pesos from her.

The formal complaint—44 counts of Qualified Theft and Violation of Access Devices Regulation Act of 1998—was filed last October 12, 2018. Kris is accusing Nicko of stealing 1,270,980.31 million pesos worth of personal expenses, charged using KCAP’s credit card. The cases were filed in seven cities: Makati, San Juan, Taguig, Mandaluyong, Pasig, Manila, and Quezon City.

On January 3, 2019, Nicko filed his counter-affidavit and broke his silence about the accusations on PEP.ph.

Kris, who has never been silenced by anyone as far as Philippine showbiz is concerned, naturally gave her side of the story in modern Kris fashion: through Facebook live. Facebook, perhaps, is also a fitting medium for someone like Kris—dubbed the Queen of All Media—who has successfully brought her polarizing influence to the digital platform.

In the Facebook session, which went live on Saturday, January 5, on Kris’s official Facebook page, she was accompanied by some of her lawyers, Sigfrid Fortun, Enrique “Ricky” dela Cruz, and University of Santo Tomas Law Dean Nilo Divina.

Kris, who used to be one of showbiz’s most prolific TV show hosts, sat confident and self-assured as she began the “episode” with pleasantries, introducing the people with her—although Atty. Dela Cruz was barely visible throughout the session, and Dean Divina was never in the frame.

“I think they told me sila ang magsasalita,” was one of the first few sentences that came out of Kris Aquino’s mouth.

Atty. Fortun then opened the topic. He expressed how he was gravely confused as to why Nicko only brought up his accusations in January when they filed the case in October. He added, “At immediately after, mga October 15 meron silang kopya [ng complaint]. In fact, ’yong kanilang abugado ay humarap nga at nag-file ng appearance.”

 

Debt and destruction

Most of the time during the session, Atty. Fortun would be talking to Kris, seemingly explaining to his client the situation for the first time. In one instance, he said, while looking at Kris, “So itong, itong mga defenses niya, itong mga sinasabi niya na lahat ng mga paratang mo ay walang basehan, na lahat ng paratang mo ay malisyoso, at gusto lamang sirain ang kanyang pagkatao at reputasyon ay dapat inihain na niya as early as that time kung totoong wala siyang kasalanan kasi alam naman natin na kung ika’y walang kasalanan, ika’y mas makisig.” He would then repeat this argument—why only now?—many times during the feed.

In the middle of his exposition, Atty. Fortun mentioned Nicko’s claim that Kris owes him a debt. Kris is palpably vexed and in still in disbelief.

Atty. Fortun: “Ngayon, kung talagang meron siyang depensa katulad ng mga sinasabi niya ngayon na meron ka daw utang sa kanya…”

Kris: “Me?”

Atty. Fortun: “Meron ka daw utang sa kanya.”

Kris: “Okay.”

Atty. Fortun: “At meron ka daw mga sinasabi doon na tinakot mo siya. Noon pa lang dapat, umpisa [pa lang], sinabi niya na ’yan, no’ng una namin nakausap ang kanyang abogado at kanyang kapatid na babae. E, do’n na sana sinabi na kaagad nila na, ‘Uy! Si Ms. Kris Aquino may utang sa kapatid ko na nueve milyones.’ E wala naman silang sinabi no’n.”

Kris: “I’m sorry, that’s nine million pesos?”

Atty. Fortun: “Nine million.”

Kris: “Ako ang may utang na nine million pesos? Sorry po, lumakas ang boses ko.

In a press conference last November, Nicko’s brother, Jesus Nicardo Falcis III, claimed that Kris Aquino threatened the life of Nicko, hindering the latter to come back to the Philippines at the time.  Kris filed nine counts of cyber libel charges against Jesus Falcis on November 22, 2018.

In the Facebook live session, Atty. Fortun questioned this accusation. According to him, Nicko’s defense team was given 90 days to file their case, but “napagsarhan na siya kasi lahat ng imbestigasyon ng kaso ay sarado na.” He said there were no signs of threat to life before Nicko spoke about it in January. “Allegedly tinakot mo siya,” said Atty. Fortun, speaking to Kris. “Na wala namang either report or suggestion even ng kanyang kapatid at ng kanyang abugado na tinatakot mo siya para siya ay bumalik dito sa Pilipinas.”

Dean Divina echoed Atty. Fortun’s sentiments: “Kung merong threat sa ’yo, ang gagawin mo lang mag-e-execute ka ng affidavit, sasabihin mo lang kung sino ’yong nananakot sa ’yo at ipa-blotter mo. Dalhin mo lang do’n sa police station…E, kung wala namang gano’n. Kahit ’yong kapatid niyang babae at ’yong kanyang abugado na kasama namin, kausap namin during all the preliminary investigation, wala namang binabanggit na utang, pananakot, o kahit na ano pa man na ginagamit niya ngayong depensa.”

According to Atty. Dela Cruz, sometime in October, Kris’s team requested to meet Nicko or anyone from his team whom Nicko has given the special power of attorney (SPA), so they could settle the cases out of court. Atty. Ricky recalled that Nicko’s team refused to attend the meeting, stating, “Ang wordings nila ay, ‘Hindi raw nila maibibigay.’ At ang gusto nila bago makipag-usap, i-drop muna.”

Kris’s lawyers did not budge.

In Atty. Fortun’s words, “Nag-issue siya ng cheke sa ’yo, kabayaran do’n sa iyong mga kini-claim na unauthorized na expenses. Hindi ba admission of [guilt] ’yon?” He also wondered, “Merong opisina na tumatanggap dito sa mga usaping katulad nito. Bakit dinadala sa social media?”

 

Kris’s Health Issues

In the middle of their colloquy, Atty. Ricky recalled Nicko’s team negotiating the terms of the pay out for the money that Nicko allegedly stole from Kris: “Sa lahat ng pakikipag-meeting namin, sila ’yong nakikipag-areglo…sila ’yong nag-o-offer na ibabalik ’yong mga nakuha, humihingi pa nga ng panahon, amortization, huhulugan.”

Then, as Atty. Ricky was proving his points, he made a statement that may have caused Kris to break into a speech, with a tone and length so familiar to those who follow her social media accounts. He prompted, “Tinataymingan nila ng labas ng lahat ng mga ito para magka-stress si Kris dahil alam nila na may sakit. At ’yong timing ay talagang malisyoso dahil kritikal ngayon ’yong period. And I think Kris can’t talk about that.”

And Kris did.

In the next few minutes that followed, Kris made revelations that wobbled the Internet anew. She began by saying that her team have always been careful about what they’ve been saying in public because by speaking out, she “will lose some contracts.”

Her voice breaking, Kris explained, “Maraming mga warrants po ’yan kasi guaranteed ’yong mga kontrata ng mga endorsements. Isa do’n sa mga warrant na ’yon, is a health warrant. I did not lie. Because at the time those contracts were signed, I did not know the extent of what I have.”

And with that, Kris made public the life-threating health issues that she is battling. She began, “When your ANA (antinuclear antibody) titer count is high, that’s already a sign of a form of lupus.” Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the person’s tissues and organs. It has no cure. Late in 2018, Kris revealed that she is suffering from urticaria, more commonly called hives.

Kris added, “I’m allergic to every single medicine that can cure you or at least manage your symptoms kung may lupus ka. All my doctors are doing now is delaying it. They’re delaying the inevitable.”

In the session, she also revealed that she has fibromyalgia, where a patient experiences chronic pain or heightened response to pain (“Those were the days na hindi nakakatayo, tatlo, apat na araw.”), a thyroid disorder, and hypertension (“So kung ano ’yong mga gamot para sa autoimmune [diseases ko], I cannot take.”).

“Hindi ako humihingi ng awa sa inyo because God has been really Good to me,” Kris clarifies.  “Every single dream I had from the time I was two years old, binigay niya. Pero nanay ako e, I just want to be alive for the two [her sons Josh and Bimby]. I even said kunin na lahat ’to, ibigay lang ako sa kanila. At ’yon siguro ang hindi maintindihan ni Nicko. Alam kong may mga masasakit akong nasabi sa kanya, pero sobrang sakit na alam mo na hindi ka sigurado kung ilang araw, ilang taon, kung ilang buwan ang ibibigay sa ’yo para maging nanay ka pa.”

A few times during the Facebook session, Kris shared that her wish, despite her illnesses, is that she would be able to make it to her son Bimby’s 18th birthday, “para adult na siya.”

She also spoke this message for Nicko: “Hindi na ako galit sa ’yo Nicko. Pero harapin mo naman lahat ng kaso mo. ’Yon lang. I did not lie.” The day after her revelations, she flew to Singapore to get a positron emission tomography (PET) scan, an image test that will allow doctors to check for diseases.

On January 6, Nicko gave his first interview to ANCx.  

Now we wait for the next “session”—whether that’s in court, or on social media, who knows?

 

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