Aiko Melendez and Jomari Yllana—whose whirlwind romance began in 1996 while they were filming Kahit Kailan—exchanged wedding vows in a civil rite in Bulacan on December 16, 1998.

 

Two years later, on July 23, 2000, the couple reaffirmed their vows before God in a church wedding held at the Archbishop's Palace. By then, the couple's firstborn, André, was already two.

 

In 2004, they called it quits. Jomari reportedly had an affair with Ara Mina. Photo: Aiko: Anna Pingol, Jomari and Ara: Tootoots Leyesa

Showbiz will not be as convoluted to the public without its fair share of controversies. Marital problems that—we, mere unknowns, shrug off as ordinary—becomes a novelty once a pair of showbiz names is on the spotlight. And the story becomes even more attention-grabbing when a "third party" enter the picture, whether that is on purpose or not. To ordinary people, it's like a telenovela in real-time.

Confrontations between the warring parties add an additional kick to the issue as the cliché of denial, "We're just friends, really!" line, is being said, and the assortment of snide remarks are thrown in for good measure. These get the chismosos and chismosas hooked.

The parties involved become noisy. Things get messy. The participation of media sometimes lead the dispute to a debacle. And the public stands as witness. It's totally distressing to know how much these stars are going through. And it's appaling that every detail of their lives is being exposed.

Case in check: the marriage of Aiko Melendez and Jomari Yllana and their controversial breakup.

The above case may look humdrum to people who aren't exactly fans of Filipino showbiz. But to the people in and out of local Tinseltown, this would be something unforgettable. It made headlines of nearly every showbiz magazine and entertainment programs three years ago.

As we all know, this issue has long been finished and the above mentioned have all gone their separate ways living their own lives, and leaving us with other things to worry about. But hey, Ara and Aiko still have yet to patch things up. PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) recounts the reason why, up to now, the two women have a three-year-old tiff.

Below are excerpts from YES! magazine's September 2004 issue. Read on.

THE STORY.Only about a year after the church ceremony—which happened on July 23, 2000—rumors about the already shaky marriage of Aiko Melendez and Jomari Yllana began circulating in the press. At the same time, the name of Ara Mina was being linked—quite consistently in the press—with Jomari's.

That same year, 2001, the news broke that Aiko and Jomari had finally gone their separate ways. The official announcement, however, came only after Aiko—who had campaigned hard from September to May of 2001—had already secured a seat as councilor for Quezon City's second district. Ara Mina's name continued to figure in the issue.

The following year, 2002, Aiko filed a petition for the annulment of her marriage to husband Jomari Yllana. The case, brought before Judge Abednego Adre of Branch 88 of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court, cited "psychological incapacity" as the petitioner's ground for annulment. The catchall term covered allegations of Jomari's extramarital affairs, battery, refusal to engage in intimate relations, and negligence to provide financial obligations to the couple's son.

While the case was being heard, Aiko agreed to grace the cover of the April 2002 issue of Good Housekeeping (GH) magazine with son André. The story tackled her life as a single parent and a politician. Inevitably, questions about Jomari and Ara cropped up. Although Aiko requested that a large part of the GH interview be off the record, she still revealed a lot in her brief statements. She appeared dead sure that Jomari was having an affair with Ara.

"Matagal na 'yan," Aiko told GH. "It started when they [Ara and Jomari] did this movie together, Sagad sa Init. I didn't believe it. Feeling ko, publicity lang 'yan. When I guested on their [Ara's and Jomari's now defunct] TV show Kiss Muna, I felt there was tension on the set.

"When we went home, I asked him: 'Bakit ganoon?' Sabi niya, wala daw 'yon. During the campaign, ayan na naman. May rumors na naman. But I was too busy. I didn't have the time to think about it."

Aiko: "Ang feeling ko talaga, para akong nagpalaki ng ahas sa sarili kong bakuran. Siya naman talaga ang may kasalanan. Bakit siya nagpadala? And please, 'wag na siyang mag-deny. Natutulog si Ara doon sa bahay nina Jom. They shouldn't underestimate my network. Bastusan na. Lalabanan ko na. Dignidad ko na ito."

ARA MINA. Ara Mina had no idea that what she wrote in her then thrice-a-week column in the tabloid People's Tonight could create a stir. Well, it did. She learned her lesson the hard way.