Napaiyak kami ni Gary Valenciano sa memorial service TV hookup ng ABS-CBN noong Miyerkules ng madaling-araw, July 8, para sa idolo niyang si Michael Jackson. Nagsilbing anchor si Gary V, kasama si Ces Drilon.
Kinahapunan ay hinarap naman ng singer-actor ang press para sa product launch ng GluControl, isang diabetic-care supplement na ini-endorse nila ng misis niyang si Angeli Pangilinan-Valenciano. Ginanap ang product launch sa Imperial Palace Suites sa T. Morato Ave., Quezon City, kaya doon ay tinanong ng PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) si Gary ng mga bagay-bagay tungkol sa namayapang King of Pop.
"Akala ko, naihanda ko na ang sarili ko," sabi ni Gary. "I tried not to be too emotional. Sabi ko sa sarili ko, I will just savor that moment. But when Usher came up, that was when it all started. Usher was the first one to say, 'Let's not talk about what he was accused of. Let's just talk about it some other time.' It was really just honoring the guy."
Sa natatandaan ni Gary, mga apat na beses na bumagsak ang luha niya para sa King of Pop.
"The first time was on the plane, papunta akong Beijing," kuwento ni Gary. "Nasa lounge ako. From the outside, Angeli came. I better check daw. 'Michael was rushed to the hospital,' sabi sa news.
"Nag-check ako online, kasi baka gimmick na naman 'cause he has a concert. Pagbukas ko ng Yahoo!, sabi doon, parang 'MJ leaves us... At 50, MJ dies...' I clicked on the other page, nandoon ang confirmation. Nakalagay doon, 20 minutes ago. Yun na ang latest, sabi ko.
"Angeli came back in, sabi niya, yung cardiac arrest. Sabi ko, 'Confirmed, MJ is already dead. He's gone.' That moment, hindi pa rin nag-sink in sa akin. Parang bad joke, na inisip ko, sana bad joke na lang talaga.
"When I entered the plane, and everybody was seated, I cried na. When I got to Beijing, marami nang schedules. At night, I stayed pa up to four to five in the morning watching the news. Ganoon din the next day, and after the concert, umiyak na naman ako," patuloy ni Mr. Pure Energy.
Noong nagdi-dinner na siya at nakita niya sa TV yung "Michael Jackson 1958-2009," pawala na sa kanya. Pinakamatindi na lang yung during the hookup from Los Angeles na sila ni Ces ang nag-anchor sa coverage, doon nakaramdam uli si Gary ng matinding sakit.
"Mabuti na lang naka-off yung mic on some parts. Kung hindi, maririnig talaga akong umiiyak," aniya. "Ganoon ako ka-emotional kay Michael, kasi hindi lang siya yung tao who really inspired me as an artist. He brought so much joy to our family. Hindi lang sa amin nina Angeli, Paolo, Gabriel, and Keana, the family I grew up with.
"Noong nasa Greenhills na kami, '70s na yun, 'Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground),' I will always remember that. Lahat kami, gumagalaw. Lumabas yung 'Ben', then, 'I'll Be There', my brother will play it all the time. Even 'ABC,' that old Jackson 5 hit.
"Then, my career. No doubt, everything I thought that was contrary to what people accused him of, para sa akin, naging totoo yun sa mismong memorial service. Maraming nagpatotoo, pati ang mga sitwasyon," saad ni Gary.
Lalo na raw nang magsalita ang 11 year-old daughter ng King of Pop na si Paris: "Ever since I was born, he [Michael] has been the greatest dad."
"Nobody ever said that," sabi ni Gary. "After so many years of hiding her, nang makita ko si Paris na yakap-yakap ng relatives ni Michael, hayun na... that's it!"
Maraming Michael Jackson hits ang paborito, siyempre, ni Gary V. He's planning to conceptualize an album as tribute to the King of Pop, his own interpretations. Kasama na rito ang personal choices niyang "Ben," "Man in the Mirror," and "Childhood."
"Matagal ko na ring pinag-iisipan 'yan, and I can't go into details. Siguro, kung naplantsa na," sabi na lang ni Gary.