It was just one of those days at Quezon City Fiscal Rolando Ramirez’s office, one of the cubicles at the newer Hall of Justice building inside the Quezon City Hall complex. Around 10 people were lined up outside the prosecutor’s room, waiting for their names—or numbers—to be called, and their cases to be heard. Think of it like waiting at the doctor’s office, only it didn’t smell of alcohol and hand sanitizer, but of agitation and pretend-patience—mostly for us, who were eager to witness the next phase in this war we were covering. We heard Kris Aquino was showing up today, which could very well trigger the next chapter of this drama; the follow-up to Mrs. Carol Falcis’s statement the other day: “You started with lies; we will end with truths.”
Among the people waiting at the Hall of Justice was Atty. Regidor A. Ponferrada of Ponferrada Ty Offices. He is the counsel representing Nicardo “Nicko” Falcis and Jesus “Jess” Falcis, who have filed a complaint of two counts of grave threats against Kris. When it comes to patience, Atty. Regi’s pisi seems longer than ours. He is composed and is possessed with a calm voice.
The complaint is still related to the Kris-Nicko warfare, where Kris filed 44 counts of Qualified Theft and Violation of Access Devices Regulation Act of 1998 on October 12, 2018. Kris also filed nine counts of cyber libel charges against Jess on November 22, 2018. Nicko is the former managing director of Kris Cojuangco Aquino Productions (KCAP), but you already know that.
Like us, Atty. Regi was also waiting for Kris and her counsels to file a counter-affidavit on the grave threats complaint. But it seemed that Nicko’s former boss wasn’t going to show up. The preliminary investigation was scheduled to start at 9:00 a.m. It was already past 9:15 when we, ABS-CBN News and ANCx, talked to Atty. Regi, and still there was no Gucci pullover and Kris Aquino in sight, or the apparition of either Jack Salvador or Bincai. There was just Atty. Regi, in his coat and tie and spectacles, looking very serious and approachable. And then there was me, in my sneakers, stretchy pants, yesterday’s blouse and spectacles, looking very curious and dispensable.
I was prepared to go into the tiniest detail of Kris’s outfit, maybe her entourage’s, and the number of counsels she would bring—but no such spectacle was to satisfy my editor today.
To bide the time, Atty. Ponferrado told us there were two scenarios that could happen: “First [Kris] can be given another chance to attend the next setting to submit the counter-affidavit, her counter-affidavit. The second scenario is the investigating prosecutor will make a ruling that she is deemed to have waived her right to present a counter-affidavit. But normally, the investigating prosecutor gives another chance.”
Prosecutor Ramirez decided on the second scenario.
At this point, we thought, “How many battle outfits do we have to prepare for this—’cause we just Marie-Kondo-ed the heck out of our closets?”
At around 9:21 a.m., our interview with Atty. Ponferrado was interrupted when he was called into the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office. Already inside the room was Atty. Mikko Axalan of DivinaLaw, one of the law firms representing Kris.
The counsels signed papers for a little more than three minutes before the next setting was announced.
Atty. Axalan, put-together, confident, svelte, explained to us the current status of the case against Kris: “We received the subpoena just yesterday…There was no complaint attached to the subpoena so the instruction for us is to obtain a copy of the complaint today. So we will be filing our counter affidavit next week. The next setting is on February 15.
“She will be appearing before the fiscal to subscribe to her counter affidavit.”
Thought bubble: We have exactly seven days to look for an outfit. And if our suweldo drops on the 14th, we can even buy a new one.
“Actually, I can’t give the contents [of the counter-affidavit] yet kasi we just received the complaint. So maybe next week we can give the gist of the counter-affidavit, once we draft it. Since we just obtained the complaint, we are going to study the allegations and the complaint.”
As for the official statement of Kris, Atty. Axalan said that there is none yet. “Maybe next week we could release an official statement already, once we already see the allegations and the complaint.”
In many of Kris’s online posts that are related to the issue, she has repeatedly put out her illnesses, including “a form of lupus,” “chronic spontaneous urticaria,” and severe allergies to the intake of a lot medicines.
We asked Atty. Axalan how her client has been holding up, especially health-wise.
“I think she’s feeling really good nowadays,” Atty. Axalan answered. “We advise her not to think about the cases against her. So, judging from the Instagram posts that she’s making, I think she’s very—she doesn’t think about it. ‘Cause I think she’s also following the advice of her doctors not to stress herself out because of the complaints and all the issues regarding Mr. Falcis.”
After the proceedings, we caught up with Atty. Ponferrada once again to continue our interview and ask about his client, too. Technicalities aside, how is Nicko?
“He has been suffering sleepless nights, anxiety, like any person would be under these circumstances,” he said. “So the thing with Nicko is he cannot be paralyzed by fear. He has to act on his rights and he has to take legal action also. Since September, his life has changed drastically. His reputation has been besmirched. Some of his business partners have left him, some believe the propaganda against him. So this has affected him tremendously, and, of course, there were threats to his life. So he has to stay abroad for most of the time, also. He can’t go to public places anymore, like he used to. So he had to take all precautions to protect his life, also.”
Regarding his clients’ appearance on February 15, Atty. Ponferrada said he will have to talk with Falcis brothers before he could give a definite answer. As far as Atty. Ponferrada knows, Nicko is still out of the country.
“We’ll see [if he’d come on February 15]. I can’t say at this time.”
What’s clear is that the battle is not over. I better go shopping.
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