"Maria was bubbly, napakaganda, parang Virgin Mary, maputi, ganda ng paa, kamay, legs, parang doll," Carmi Martin described her Chicks to Chicks co-star, Ma. Theresa Carlson (in photo). Photo: Courtesy of YES! magazine

Meanwhile, Fariñas had things to say, too: The media "violated our rights as husband and wife." He accused Probe of messing up with their lives, interfering in a petty marital quarrel. He said to the Manila Times, "Saan ka naman nakakita ng tampuhan lang ng mag-asawa, ipa-flash mo sa TV?."

Suicide. Maria Theresa Carlson-Fariñas, 38, died on November 23, 2001. She plunged from her apartment on the 23rd floor of Platinum 2000, Greenhills, San Juan. She landed on the condominium's third floor airwell.  (Ironically, the condo is adjacent to the Atlanta building where Nida Blanca died.) Maria was found dead by a roving security guard at 2 o'clock in the wee hours.

Initially, everyone suspected foul play. But San Juan police said there was no indication of anything wrong at the scene and ruled it a suicide. Her husband called it an accident.

A Loyola Memorial services assistant told the GMA-7 news crew, "Walang ulo. Yung utak niya dumikit sa mga ano... nagkalat, pinulot ko isa-isa. Nakakatakot talaga. Wasak ang mukha, durog, sabog ang skull niya.

The househelp who was with Maria at the rented condo unit, said that Maria jumped. Days before that, she was going around the saying, "I miss my baby... don't leave me."

In the weeks that followed her death, her husband, now a congressman,   faced the media relentlessly. In an interview with Butch Francisco in the Philippine Star, he recounted, "I loved being with her. We enjoyed the same kind of things... Okay lang sa kanya that she would be the butt of my jokes. And I really appreciated the fact na inalagaan niya ang dalawang anak ko sa ibang babae.

"During the elections, nangangampanya ‘yan. She'd go on a house-to-house campaign. Pero kapag sinumpong ‘yan... she'd start hearing things. And then, she becomes uncaring. Ang pagkakamali ko, sana naki-ride on na lang ako. May mga pagkukulang din ako sa kanya," the scion from Laoag, Ilocos Norte said.

Postscript. After Maria's death, a women's coalition lobbied arduously to have a law passed in Congress.

The women succeeded in 2004 when Republic Act 9262 or "Anti-Violence against Women and Children Act" was signed on March 8, International Women's Day. Many women are now aware of their rights and how to seek  protection from all forms of abusive relationship.