MANILA - It was not as one-sided as initial reports about the mauling incident involving Diego Loyzaga suggest, the actor said in an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN News' Ginger Conejero Tuesday afternoon.
The 20-year-old Loyzaga, the son of actor Cesar Montano, denied that he and his friends ganged up on Paolo and Angelo Lopez, the brothers who were allegedly beaten up, during the incident that happened outside a posh club in Taguig City.
"Wala po akong sinaktan, wala po akong sinapak. Yes, doon sa loob nagkaguluhan kami pero because of self-defense. I just tried to stop him from hitting me. So why am I getting blamed for what happened to him?" Loyzaga said.
Loyzaga recalled that the incident began when the girlfriend of Angelo asked him for a picture. He said Paolo then walked up to him and pushed him to the ground, contrary to the claims of the brothers that they had asked the actor properly to take his hands off the girl.
At this point, Loyzaga said he and Paolo were still civil and were asked to settle their dispute outside the club. "Nag-apologize ako, nag-apologize din siya and we shook hands. We even hugged," he claimed.
However, one of his friends got into a fight with a man he observed was waiting for them at the parking lot. Loyzaga surmised that the man, along with another individual who he said was armed, were friends of Paolo and Angelo.
"Doon na kami naging emosyonal. So binalikan ko si Paolo and started to ask him, 'Paolo, do you know who that person was?' Kasi imposibleng coincidence lang na may taong nagaabang sa amin," he said.
This part of Loyzaga's narration was consistent with the claims of Paolo and Angelo's party that the actor began asking them about a man they did not know.
Loyzaga continued that he was then hit at the left side of his jaw that left him "bloodied" and "dazed." The punch also caused to him to fall to the ground and fracture his right hand.
"I was bleeding out. I couldn't see anything anymore. Wala na po akong nakita kung sino ang nagrarambulan. I just saw a lot of people falling, fighting, and throwing punches," he said.
Loyzaga then expressed his frustration of not being able to help his friends as he was taken to a hospital, and explained that he could not have punched either of the brothers in his state that night.
"I'm being blamed for what happened to the brothers. I honestly don't know what happened to the brothers. I know that Paolo got beaten up really bad, but Angelo, I don't know where he went," he said.
He also criticized the sister of Angelo and Paolo, who was quoted by entertainment website Pep and the Philippine Daily Inquirer in their reports, for releasing a statement when she was not even at the posh club when the incident happened.
Loyzaga also denied the claim of Angelo's girlfriend that he had asked one of his friends to beat up Paolo. "It's too ridiculous of a statement," he hit back.
Paolo and Angelo's side
Meanwhile, Paolo categorically denied that he had pushed Loyzaga to the ground when he said that he only approached the actor to tell him that the woman is her brother's girlfriend.
"What happened is he got pissed and then he punched me in the face twice," he shared, contrary to Loyzaga's statement, in an interview with ABS-CBN News.
Angelo also defended his brother about claims that the individual who started the fight outside was part of their group.
"He's telling the truth. Hindi naman talaga niya alam. Wala siyang alam. Things got heated. Tapos bigla na lang he got hit [above his right eye]," he said.
Paolo was knocked out that night and brought to a nearby hospital. "The next thing I remember is waking up in the hospital the next day. I didn't know what happened," he admitted.
The camp of the Lopez brothers has since reported the incident to the local police and are now mulling whether to take additional legal steps.
A witness speaks up
Meanwhile, a man named "Henry," who was at the posh club in Taguig City when the incident happened, reaffirmed Loyzaga's claims that he and his friends did not start the fight with the group of Paolo and Angelo.
In his version of the story, Henry, speaking with radio program "Wanted Sa Radyo," narrated that it was Angelo's girlfriend who approached Loyzaga at the club and asked for a picture.
"Siyempre si Diego naman po, mabait. Siyempre hinawakan po yung bewang nung babae, nag-picture, okay lang po," he said. "Tapos po yung babae, bumeso, tapos po yung nakaaway po ni Diego, sumugod po kay Diego."
Henry continued that Loyzaga was surprised when one of the brothers pulled on his shirt and he inadvertently let out a punch.
It led to a fight at the place where Loyzaga was seated, contrary to reports saying that the actor trailed Paolo as he went to a restroom. He also denied that Paolo and Angelo did not fight back.
"Nangyari po mismo sa table ni Diego. Yung mga news po na iba, sabi po sa CR, hindi po. Kahit tingnan ang CCTV po, hindi po nangyari sa CR yun, hindi po inabangan ni Diego," he explained.
Henry also said that Loyzaga was able to make "peace" with Paolo and Angelo. But he did also mention another man, whom he said began asking Loyzaga's group for a fight.
"Nag-aangas-angas, tapos nagmumura-mura. Kasi po nagkasuntukan po nung una, so parang lumala po yung problema, parang ganun, gusto ng away," he said.
Henry also confirmed that Loyzaga suffered a "bloodied" face after the fight. "Sa mukha po, pero hindi lang niya po pinu-post po, kasi artista po. Ayaw niyang makitang duguan siya, ganun," he said.