It did not take long for Kris Aquino’s fans and followers to identify the mystery man whom she greeted a happy birthday on social media, triggering speculations about a new romance.
There were several names mentioned in the comments on Aquino's post but none of them was celebrating their birthday on Wednesday, August 11, until some netizens mentioned former Interior and Local Government Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento.
It was somehow confirmed by no less than Sarmiento when he used Aquino’s Instagram account to answer a criticism hurled against the actress by a netizen.
One user called Aquino narcissistic and asked her to delete her social media accounts “to be fair” with a former DILG secretary.
“Ghorl @krisaquino Kung gusto mo talaga na private ang buhay mo. Wag kana mag post ng Ganito narcissistic ka din e. Kawawa naman ang dating DILG secretary sayo be fair. Please abolish you’re social media account. Please lang day! Baka malasin pa,” the netizen said.
Aquino, who is known to fight back some bashers, did not let the comment pass and defended her use of social media by citing the number of her followers.
“Why? Did I name names? ikaw ang nag greet by name and nag assume agad… and bakit mo ko didiktahan to 'abolish' my social media account? Siguro if like you I had 3 posts & 8 followers madaling gawin yun but when you have 4.8 million on IG and 4.5 million on FB you just don’t do that because you respect the relationship you’ve built with the people who have come to love and trust you,” she said in a lengthy comment.
“If you are afraid about my political ambitions, that’s why you called me narcissistic- that’s really not my problem. Mas mamalasin tayo kung puro ka negahan like your attitude instead of positivity and #lovelovelove. We live in a democracy and wala akong masamang pi-nost,” she added.
The commenter refused to close the argument and said the actress could have greeted the former Cabinet official privately.
“Madame hindi po ito tungkol sa politics. Ang sabi ko lang kung gusto mo ng private life Bakit need mo pa mag-post ng ganito. Puwede mo naman i-greet na lng siya in private. Puro ka hanash ano yan parang Shopee may hint. Ang narcissistic mo kaya. Ano yun gusto mo pag-usapan ka lagi duh! Kung tatakbo ka tumakbo ka. Kung hindi eh di hindi. Daming hanash bagay sayo sa bahay na lng,” the netizen answered.
This was where Sarmiento came in, by using Aquino’s account. Sarmiento asked if he had worked with the netizen before in the DILG and urged him to accord him and the actress some respect.
“@mynameisaxell hiniram ko yung phone ni Kris - ewan ko kung nakatrabaho kita sa DILG sa laki ng department mahirap maalalala ang lahat. Wag naman masamain kung nag greet nga sa ‘kin, ba’t naman napunta na sa malas? Eh napasaya nga nya ko- kung tutuusin napaka swerte ko. Kung nag sama nga tayo sa department na minahal ko, konting respeto naman sa min ni Kris. - Mel Senen Sarmiento,” the comment stated.
Some fans called Sarmiento’s reaction as a sweet gesture for defending the showbiz personality.
Early Wednesday, Aquino shared a post that reads: “Thank you for coming into my life… Happy birthday!”
In the caption, Aquino said she thought long and hard whether to upload the birthday greeting since she is aware that it will only lead to speculations.
Nonetheless, she still decided to make the post, noting that “he really did come when my grief was unbearable; he continues to give me unselfish support & comfort; he’s been around for all my ups and downs, health woes, and tears.”
Aquino also said her son Bimby approves of him and most importantly, he makes her feel “taken care of, secure and safe.”
Sarmiento served as the DILG chief from September 2015 to June 30, 2016 under the administration of Kris’ brother late President Noynoy Aquino.
He was a former Congressman of Samar’s first district (2010-2015) and three-term Mayor of Calbayog City (2001-2010).