Actress and director Gina Alajar finally spoke up about her Facebook status message which found its way into the controversy involving boxing champion Manny Pacquiao and sexy actress Krista Ranillo. In just a few days, the issue escalated to excessive proportions.
Gina had posted a status message on her Facebook account, stating, "If I were Jinky Pacquiao, I would not give up Manny. Krista Ranillo is not worth it at all." It was visible only to her friends and was, by Gina's choice, an opinion to be shared with only those she knew. Somehow, Gina's personal profile page became public and found its way to The Buzz.
In Showbiz Central's "Intriga Crossfire" segment yesterday, November 29, Gina explained her side on the whole issue and expressed her disappointment with showbiz talk show The Buzz for displaying her Facebook page on TV without her consent.
Showbiz Central airs on GMA-7 while The Buzz airs on ABS-CBN. These programs have the same timeslot every Sunday afternoon.
NOTHING TO APOLOGIZE FOR. Last week, the Ranillo camp appeared on TV and demanded an apology from Gina for her Facebook status message. It even came to a point where the Ranillos' lawyer said they were considering pressing charges against Gina. What does she have to say about this?
"Unang-una, hindi ako puwedeng magbigay ng reaction doon dahil hindi sa akin nakadirekta ang sulat nila," said Gina. "Dinirekta nila sa media at dinirekta nila sa TV station. Pero sinabi nila na sa isang news din the following day na papadala nila ako ng letter. So hinihintay ko ang letter na iyon. Pag na-receive ko ang letter na iyon, saka ako magre-react sa sinasabi nila. For now, ang reaction ko, e, there is nothing to apologize for. Sabi nga ng anak kong si Geoff [Eigenmann], we have been waiting for an apology a long time ago but it never came."
It's been rumored that Krista once had a link with her ex-husband Michael de Mesa. Does her Internet posting mean she has a hidden grudge against Krista?
"Alam mo kung personal grudge or personal na galit, e, napakatagal nang panahon iyan," answered Gina. "Naglaho na 'yan, okay? Kung itatanong kung bakit ako nag-post sa Facebook ko ng update, e, ang sagot ko diyan, e, sa lahat ng kapuluan kahit saan ako magpunta, e, iyon ang pinag-uusapan. Lahat ng tao nagbibigay ng komento tungkol sa issue na ito. Ako, palagay ko, karapatan ko magbigay ng sarili kong komento o iniisip tungkol sa issue na ito."
"Hindi naman para sa kanya [Krista] iyon, e," continued Gina, "para kay Jinkee 'yon. Pero hindi ko kaibigan si Jinkee. Ang naramdaman ko ay ang naramdaman ng halos lahat ng maybahay na Pilipino. Ang naramdaman ko ay iyong kuwestiyon na bakit nagkakaganito. So, I felt for Jinkee. Kaya sinabi ko na, 'If I am Jinkee Paquiao, I will not give up on Manny.' Di ba? Kung ako si Jinkee Paquiao, hindi ko hihiwalayan iyong asawa ko. Iyon ang nararamdaman ng karamihan ng may asawa sa issue na ito."
Gina met Jinkee only once during one of Manny's fights abroad. If she had a chance to meet her again, what would she want to say?
"In all this I'm for you, you remember that," Gina said. "I just want you to take care of your family. You take care of yourself and you love yourself. Because if you don't love yourself, sino pa ang magmamahal sa iyo? Alagaan mo mga anak mo, alagaan mo pamilya mo."
HER PRIVATE THOUGHTS MADE PUBLIC. Gina explained that what she said on Facebook were the random thoughts "ng isang babae na humihingi lang ng hustisiya para sa kanyang kapwa babae. Nakikiramay or nakikisimpatiya lang sa kanyang kapwa babae."
She asked why she should censor herself, or in this sense, apologize to people for posting her thoughts on Facebook, when it was precisely created to let people speak their minds on whatever issues there were to people they knew on a personal page they held private. "Kaya nga private page mo iyon, e. So, bakit may censorship?"
On the topic of private matters, it was time to discuss how her private page came to be displayed on The Buzz on one of its segments days before. What were Gina's feelings about The Buzz broadcasting her private conversations?
"Iyong privacy ko was invaded," Gina said. "And to think wala akong ibang social networking except Facebook. Unang-unang sign-up ko sa Facebook, ang una kong pinag-aralan ay iyong privacy settings. Kasi ayoko talaga na kung sino-sinong nag-a-add sa akin hindi ko kakilala. Ayoko iyong hindi ako libre sa ginagawa ko. Ayoko din na parang may stalker ako na susundan lahat ng ginagawa ko. Kaya wala akong Twitter, e. So anyway, pag-sign up ko sa Facebook, e, nalaman ko lahat 'yan at ako pa nagtuturo sa kaibigan ko kung papaano magkaroon ng privacy settings.
"Now, I want to say na wala akong kaibigan—wala sa The Buzz ni isa sa kanila na nasa friend list ko. So hindi ko alam kung papaano nila na-access iyong account ko at papaano nila nabuksan ang profile page ko at ibinalandra nila sa show nila. Ngayon, nalaman ko iyon noong may nag-text sa akin na kaibigan ko at tinanong sa akin kung ano reaction ko sa ginawa ng The Buzz. Sabi ko, 'Anong nakalagay?' At sabi, e, iyong profile page ko. Sabi ko, bakit wala silang paalam?"
During the said segment on The Buzz, Gina texted the show's segment host Jobert Sucaldito to inform him that she was far from being pleased with what they were doing with her Facebook page.
"Ang sinabi niya sa akin," she continued, "'Sa paniwala ko po, ang "shout out" is making yourself public.' Ang sabi ko sa kanya, 'Jobert, wala kayong permiso. Wala kayong permiso na ilabas iyan dahil 'yan ay private sa akin.'"
FRUIT BASKET IN EXCHANGE FOR EVERYTHING. Two days after the text conversation between Gina and Jobert, the executive producer of The Buzz called up Gina to apologize. Gina told the executive producer that she wanted a public apology and she wanted them to tell the public exactly who opened her account for The Buzz to display.
"Bakit ninyo ginawa iyon?" Gina asked the producer that day. "Sabi niya nagmamadali daw sila sa istorya. Obviously gumawa sila ng istorya out of my status update. So nagmamadali daw sila sa istorya at madaling-araw na daw nila natapos iyong istorya at nahiya na daw silang tawagan ako para humingi ng permiso.
"Wow," reacted Gina after hearing the executive's explanation. "Nahiya silang guluhin ako o istorbohin ako para humingi ng permiso, pero hindi sila nahiya na i-feature iyon sa show nila nang walang permiso. So there, after that a few days later, I received a fruit basket from The Buzz."
Attached to the fruit basket was a letter from executive producer Nancy Yabut. Gina opened the letter and read the contents on the air:
"Dear Direk Gina Alajar, The Buzz would like to sincerely apologize for any discomfort it may have caused you and that experiences of this nature will never happen again. Again, our apologies and our best regards. Sincerely yours, Nancy Yabut.
After reading the letter, Gina looked up and said, "Ito lang ba iyon? After ng gulong ginawa nila—after ipitin nila ako sa isang gulo na hindi ko naman gustong maipit—e, ito lang iyon. Ito lang ang katapat noon. And we're talking about professionalism here. I also watched the other time, the last show [of The Buzz]—sinasabi ng host na hindi nila puwede i-disclose kung ano pinag-usapan nila ni Jinkee kasi walang pahintulot si Jinkee. E, iyon naman pala, e. Alam niyo pala na hindi puwede ilabas kung walang pahintulot, e, bakit walang pahintulot from me, e, nilabas nila? Para lang ginagago nila ako."
ACTION TO TAKE. Gina revealed that she would explore legal actions against The Buzz if the show doesn't make a public apology soon.
"I may, I may not sue them, depending saan ako magiging kumportable," she said.
After all that's happened, does Gina regret posting her status message on Facebook?
"Wala," she said, "kasi kung magkakaroon ako ng regrets, e, ibig sabihin noon ay sine-censor ko sarili ko. Sine-censor ko buong pag-iisip ko. Sine-censor ko ang buong pagkatao ko dahil lang sa maaaring makalabas, dahil lang may mga taong nakikialam sa mga bagay na hindi nila dapat pakialaman. It should not be that way. Kakaunti na lang ang buhay ko na itatagal sa mundong ito and I want to enjoy. I enjoy Facebooking, I enjoy getting in touch with my friends na hindi ko madalas nakakasama. Kaya ako nag-e-enjoy, e, kahit hindi [sila] kasama, e, you get in touch with one another. I want to enjoy that and nobody can censor me.
"Kung hihingi ako ng public apology ibig sabihin kailangan ko i-censor ko sarili ko all my life? Hindi. Ang tinatanong ko lang doon, e, kung pinapakain nila ako at kung binibigyan nila ako ng panggastos ko sa pang-araw-araw, e, puwede ako mag-apologize. Pero kung ang sagot sa tanong na iyan ay hindi, e, wala akong kailangan i-apologize kahit na kanino."
FINAL STATEMENT ON THE ISSUE. After explaining her side of the issue, Gina gave a formal statement, and said this would be the last time she would talk about it.
"When I signed up for a Facebook account, I was fully aware of its accessibility to the public so I took it upon myself to protect my privacy by applying stringent measures in accordance to Facebook's rules and regulations if only to assure that my account can only be viewed by my trusted friends, meaning my inner circle.
"On November 15, 2009, the showbiz magazine show The Buzz featured in its segment POV my Facebook page quoting and showing onscreen my shout out posted a few days before. Needless to say, the show's staff did so without my permission. I was aghast and deeply offended by this transgression of my privacy. I have written the network and the show's producers demanding among others a public apology but to no avail. If the producers and writers of The Buzz had only been more prudent, this issue would not have been blown out of proportion. I stand by my earlier assertion that The Buzz has violated my right to privacy and I hold the show's manager accountable for the aggravation this has brought me and my family."