MANILA — Veteran columnist and talent manager Aster Amoyo on Thursday detailed the donations her group handled for John Regala’s medical expenses, after the former action star claimed he didn’t receive a single peso from them.
Amoyo, along with Chuckie Dreyfus and Nadia Montenegro, organized a donation drive for Regala in July, when videos of him appearing sickly circulated online. With the help of Amoyo’s group, Regala was hospitalized. He was later revealed to have been suffering from liver cirrhosis, gout, and diabetes.
On August 17, Amoyo’s group announced their decision to stop supporting Regala’s healthcare needs, as they described him as a “very uncooperative and difficult individual,” and mentioned his “terrible habit of constant and abusive self-medication.”
The donations they had so far received then, the group said, would be turned over to “whoever will look after John for safekeeping,” with a detailed breakdown of the funding and hospital expenses.
On August 25, in an interview on “Raffy Tulfo in Action,” Regala claimed he hasn’t received “a single cent” of the donations Amoyo’s group had raised.
“Nasaan po kaya ‘yun? Iyong tulong na sinasabi nilang kinalap nila,” he said. “Wala akong nahawakan ni singko sa kanilang nakalap na donasyon. Actually po, humihingi ako sa kanila, ngunit wala silang binibigay sa akin na proof kung magkano ang binibigay ng isang kapwa ko artista, netizen, o ibang tao.”
Referring to a bank account where Amoyo’s group had said they deposited the funds, Regala said it had “zero balance.”
In the same episode of “Raffy Tulfo in Action,” Dreyfus enumerated the donations his group handled for Regala — details Amoyo echoed in a subsequent statement on Thursday, as sent to PUSH.
“Pinabulaanan ni John na ni singko ay wala umano siyang nakuha sa pondo na nagmula sa aming fundraising. Lahat ng accounting ng pondong nakolekta ng aming grupo mula sa mga nag-donate (including known personalities) with their respective names at exact amount ay nakalista, lahat ng gastusin from his hospital bills, medicines, groceries, suweldo ng caregiver at iba pang kagamitang binili for John ay nakalista,” Amoyo said.
According to Amoyo, her group raised nearly P300,000 for Regala. That sum includes the donations from Regala’s ex-wife Au Manansala-Hunt (US$1,000), Ang Probinsyano Party-list Rep. Ronnie Ong (P20,000), and Film Development Council of the Philippines Liza Dino-Seguerra (P10,000), Amoyo said.
That count excludes the donations that were directly deposited to Regala’s account, Amoyo noted. Those donations include another amount from Ong, as well as monetary aid from Tulfo, Sen. Bong Revilla, Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto, and Ormoc Mayor Richard Gomez.
Of the P300,000 gathered by Amoyo’s group, nearly half was spent on hospital bills and Regala’s prescribed medicines.
“May natirang P115,000 which we deposited sa personal account ni John sa Metrobank at merong katibayan (deposit slip and certification) ang aming grupo,” she said.
Originally, Amoyo’s group had intended to hand over the remaining funds to Regala’s second ex-wife, Vicky Alonzo, “but she begged off.”
“Kaya napilitan kami na ito’y i-deposit sa personal account ni John,” she said.
Much earlier in May, prior to Regala’s condition going public, he also received financial help from his former “Ang Probinsyano” co-star Coco Martin, through Amoyo.
“Never naming isinumbat ang aming ginawang tulong para kay John,” Amoyo said. “But at this point in time, kailangan din naming manindigan at magsalita para malaman ng publiko ang totoo at hindi yung kami pa ang lumalabas na masama considering na oras, pagod at kapal ng mukha ang ginawa namin na mamalimos’ para kay John.”
Amoyo then recalled that during Regala’s confinement at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, one of his two caregivers could only last a week, allegedly because of the actor’s attitude.
“Isa rin [siya] sa makakapagpatunay kung ano ang tunay na ugali at pinaggagawa ng actor under his watch,” she said.
Referring to her group’s earlier mention of Regala’s “abusive self-medication,” Amoyo went on: “Kahit mahina siya, he goes to the bank to withdraw money to satisfy his needs, ang mabili ang gamot which he depended on for years.”
“Tanungin ninyo kung saan at paano niya nabibili 'yung mga gamot na hindi naman prescribed sa kanya ng doctor? Bakit din walang kaanak na kasama si John ngayon?”
Amoyo expressed confidence that the truth will eventually come out, despite Regala’s allegations in frequent interviews on Tulfo’s program that continue to go viral.
“Gawin man kaming sinungaling lahat ni John, lalabas din ang totoo. Ang nakakatakot lamang ay kapag maubos na ang pera na hawak niya ngayon dahil sa ginawa naming pamamalimos para sa kanya tapos magmamakaawa siyang muli sa kanyang Facebook live para kaawaan ng publiko,” she said.
“Sa totoo lang, kami pa ang nahihiya ngayon sa lahat nang tumulong at nag-donate para kay John dahil parang nabalewala ang lahat,” Amoyo added.
“Binalewala man lahat ni John ang aming efforts at tulong, nais pa rin namin ipaabot ang aming taos-pusong pasasalamat sa lahat ng nagpaabot ng tulong para sa kanya.”
According to Amoyo, Regala is currently staying at a condominium unit owned by Iglesia ni Cristo, which now stands as his “benefactor.”
“Pero kapag sila’y napuno na rin, only God knows kung ano ang puwedeng mangyari sa kanya,” she said.
Despite the controversy that resulted from aiding Regala’s medical needs, Amoyo said her group does not regret initiating their effort.
“Naaawa lamang kami sa kanya na hindi niya pinahalagahan ang mga taong nagbigay ng malasakit sa kanya,” she said. “Hangad namin ang matiwasay na kaisipan ni John at sana’y patuloy pa rin siyang makahanap ng mga taong tutulong sa kanya despite himself.”