Philippine music legend Freddie Aguilar and his 16-year-old girlfriend. File photo
Music veteran converted to Islam 6 months ago
BULUAN, Maguindanao - Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu, the principal sponsor of Freddie Aguilar's wedding, explained why the 60-year-old singer can marry his 16-year-old girlfriend under Islamic rites.
Speaking with ABS-CBN News hours before the wedding in Buluan at 3 p.m. Friday, Mangudadatu said he does not have anything against the union.
"Matalik kong kaibigan si Freddie noon pa. Actually sinabi niya na sa akin ang tungkol diyan, matagal na," he said, referring the singer's controversial relationship with his girlfriend of over six months.
"Sabi ko naman, wala namang masama kung magpapakasal kayo. Tutal nagmamahal kayo at may consent ng parents niya," Mangudadatu added.
In coming out with his affair in October, Aguilar emphasized that he has the blessing of his partner's parents, who are based in Naujan, Oriental Mindoro.
Explaining why Aguilar, as a Muslim, can marry his underage girlfriend, Mangudadatu said, "Sa Islam kasi, once na nagkaroon na ng unang menstruation ang dalaga, pwede nang ipakasal basta't payag ang magulang."
Mangudadatu also revealed that Aguilar converted to Islam about six months ago. "Matagal na yan, hindi na bago," he said.
An imam, or a worship leader in a Muslim community, stressed, however, that conversion to Islam is not permitted if it is with the intention of having multiple partners.
"Sagrado ang pagco-convert sa Islam," Ustadz Abdulrazak Salik told ABS-CBN News. "Hindi naman dapat na mag-ko-convert ka lang dahil gusto mong mag-asawa. Dapat buo ang loob mo at ipapangako na wala kang ibang sasambahin kundi ang Allah."
Referring to the permissible age of marrying under Islamic practices, Salik added, "Wala namang problema do'n."
"Ang importante nagmamahalan sila at pumapayag ang magulang na ipakasal ang kanilang anak," he said.
Aguilar's girlfriend is turning 17 on November 29.
The singer, who separated from his third wife a decade ago, has six children with the youngest being 24 years old.