Punong-puno ng emosyon ang dating movie queen na si Amalia Fuentes nang humarap siya sa Showbiz Central noong Linggo, December 27. Tungkol sa nag-iisang anak ni Amalia na si Liezel Martinez at ang kinakaharap nitong sakit na breast cancer ang ilan sa naging paksa ng interview sa kanya ni Raymond Gutierrez.
Unang tanong kay Amalia ay kung ano ang naging reaksiyon niya at kailan niya nalaman ang karamdaman ng anak.
"Well, she called the day after I arrived from the States na may bukol siya," simula ng dating Sampaguita Pictures contract star. "So I told her, the sooner it's removed, the better her chances of getting well. Anyway, ang nangyari kasi kay Liezl, that's why she took her time because... Anyway, ito nga ang message ko sa mga kabataan na mga babae... Anna Liza [Liezel's real name] had a silicon breast enlargement and this thing will not show in an ordinary ultrasound or mammography.
"You will need an MRI which costs around P25,000. So I asked her, 'Why did you wait so long? Why you did not go with the MRI? Sabi niya, 'Kasi nanghihinayang ako sa P25,000.' Sabi ko, 'My god, Albert [Martinez, Liezel's husband] is producing film, so why can't you afford P25,000? You can even afford breast enlargement. You will not be able to afford pala MRI which every woman needs once a year.'
"Kaya ang message ko sa inyong lahat," patuloy niya, "huwag na huwag kayong magpapalagay ng mga silicon, because ako, during my last mammography, SOP na ngayon ng mga doctor, they will ask you, 'Meron ka bang silicon?' Because they will not do that kind of procedure. But now, nakikita ko, gaya-gayahan, e.
"Si Liezel siguro, na-influence ng mga kabarkada niya. Lahat sila malalaki ang mga suso. Nagugulat ako. Kaya sabi ko, 'Yan ang nakuha mo.' And maybe, that also caused her cancer. Her boobs were mutilated. Alam mo yung bubutasan kang ganun. E, sabi nga nila, sigarilyo lang masama sa cancer. E, yun pa kayang hihiwain lahat 'yan at lalagyan ng foreign body?
"Kaya ako, nandirito ako... I did not want to talk about this because I wanted to keep Anna Liza's privacy. But still, she talked about how she owes Pops Fernandez her life. Grabe naman yata yun... She owes Pops Fernandez her life? And ako, ano na lang ako sa buhay niya? I raised her like a princess, alone, by my lonesome fat self. Ang tatay niya [former matinee idol Romeo Vasquez], nawala sa buhay niya when she was two and a half years old. I worked like a horse and this is what I'm going to get in return, just a sorry..."
"NO MOTHER COULD BE BETTER FOR HER." Sa puntong ito ay pinutol muna siya ni Raymond at sinabing nais muna niyang mag-focus sa klase ng suporta na ibinibigay ni Amalia sa kanyang anak, lalo na ngayong mga panahon na may pinagdadaanan silang pamilya.
"Okay, what Liezel needs from me is financial [support] and I gave it to her," sabi ni Amalia. "Yung ipinakita niya sa TV interview niya na nagpunta siya sa Singapore, showing her with the doctor and her friend Rachel, that money came from me. Sayang nga lang at Sunday ngayon, I would have brought the P200,000 that I gave her... And three days later after the cheques were cleared, she left. Ni hindi man lang nagpaalam sa akin.
"E, I offered to bring her, sabi ko, 'Kung hindi ka masasamahan ni Albert, let me go with you.' No, she left without me and I just found out she was gone. And she came back nothing for me."
Ang TV interview na sinasabi ni Amalia ay ang panayam ni Kris Aquino kay Liezel sa SNN (Showbiz News Ngayon) ng ABS-CBN, na ipinalabas noong nakaraang linggo.
Pero paano ba nila hina-handle, lalo na nina Liezel at Albert, ang bagong isyung ito?
"This issue has been ongoing because since Liezel was a baby, there have been people around her. And because I was so busy working since I am the breadwinner, the father, there are so many people na nai-insecure at siguro sinisiraan ako. Ako naman, I don't care because I know she's my daughter. And I know, when the time comes, intelihente naman siya, she will understand. All I wanted for Liezel is what she wants for her own daughter.
"Hindi niya yun ibinigay sa akin. Sabi niya, 'Gusto ko si Alissandra makapag-aral.' Ganundin ang gusto ko sa kanya. Eighteen years old siya, inilayo ko siya kay Albert dahil alam ko nga na patay na patay na siya kay Albert. Sabi ko, bago magkabuntisan, ilalayo ko na 'to. Pumunta kami sa States, ano ginawa niya? Alam na ng lahat 'yan, history.
"What about her children? If they will do the same to her, how would she feel? I just want people to know because at my age, I'm almost 70, I don't have much time to explain my side. But I want to change the perception people have of me.
"I've been a good, good mother to her. No mother could be better to her. Ewan ko where she went wrong. And I always tell her, 'You know Liezel, nakalagay 'yan sa Bible, the fourth commandment, after the three commandments of God, wherein it says, honor thy parents and long life, richness, and happiness will be yours.'
"So, sinabi ko sa kanya, 'Baka naman pinipitik ka lang ng Diyos.' And true enough... You know, when I found out that she was with a talk show... yung kay Kris [Aquino], sabi ko, 'Dyusko, ano na naman kaya ang gagawin nito?' Kasi si Liezel, nag-sorry pa raw kuno for not being an ideal daughter. I never asked for an ideal daughter because a mother is always prepared to forgive and forget, just as I have forgiven her for all the kahihiyan, all the embarrassments that I have suffered on her account," tuloy-tuloy na sabi ni Amalia.
Napag-usapan na ba nila ni Liezel ang bagay ito nang harap-harapan?
"Yes, I have talked to her many times," sagot ng dating aktres. "And she will only cry and she will not answer. So, what's the use of talking to a wall?"
"SHE HAS A LOT OF BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS TO FIX." Ayon sa interview ni Liezel, posibleng ang pagkakaroon niya ng cancer ay paraan ng Diyos "to mend broken relationships." Ano ang reaksiyon dito ni Amalia?
"Yeah, but she did not say that it is a broken relationship with me, because she has a lot of broken relationships to fix. Even with her children. She has done worse things to her daughter than what I have done to her. Ngayon, ang masasabi ko lang, tama yung pinasalamatan niya ang tatay niya na nagpapadala raw ng vitamins and prayers. That is good. That she can be grateful with her father about that. And she did say that pinilit daw siya ni Pops, at saka si Charlene Gonzalez daw, nagpapadala raw ng healthy fruit juices. At si Aga [Muhlach] raw, thank you, thank you...
"But where did I come in? The night before her operation, hinanap ko si Father [Fernando] Suarez all over Manila. Nakita ko siyang kumakain, susubo na lang, hinila ko siya. 'My daughter will gonna be operated tomorrow, please come.' And he did. Ang mabait na pari sumama sa akin kahit hindi pa kumakain. At isang oras bago nakaakyat sa kuwarto ni Liezel. At pagdating ko dun, nandun ang mga kaibigan ni Liezel na may breast cancer. Nandun sina Vivian Sarabia at kung sino-sino pang hindi ko kilala. So, they were all given a special prayer for healing. But then, noong pauwi na, ihahatid ko si Father Suarez, nag-text siya [Liezel]. Sabi niya, 'Alam mo, Ma, nawala na yung kirot ng bukol ko.' So, pinabasa ko pa nga kay Father Suarez [yung text message].
"And the day that she's gonna be wheeled in the operating room, I was there with her with three priests. Itong tatlong pari na sinasabi niyang magpapasyal sa kanya sa Rome, kaibigan ko dahil madalas ako sa Rome. Nakapunta lang sila dahil ako ang kinukuha ng pari na mag-show sa Rome at gusto nila, ako lang mag-isa dahil kapag ako at tungkol sa pari, kahit economy lang ang ticket ko, okey lang sa akin.
"Silang dalawa ni Albert, first class ang tickets. Kaya may mga pictures silang kasama nila yung pari, but it was through me. Sabi ko sa kanila, 'Sige, si Liezel na lang ang kunin mo.' At saka hindi rin ako puwede dahil nasa Amerika ako nun. Pero you know, for her to just dismiss me like, 'I'm sorry for being not the ideal daughter.' I'm sorry, too. Ako, sorry rin ako for her."
What does she mean about being sorry for Liezel?
Paliwanag ni Amalia, "No, I'm sorry for her because if she doesn't honor her father and mother, richness, long life, and happiness will not be hers because that is in the fourth commandment... So, yun, magpapakasal daw sila sa Rome, malinaw yun, 25th wedding anniversary nila with all her children. Now, she can afford to spend to go to Rome for a wedding. I don't know, ang Catholic wedding niya was only for the past 15 years because she only got married 10 years after she eloped from the States.
"Di ba dapat, kapag may sakit ka na ganun, mag-ipon ka ng pera? Si Albert must have a foresight to think, like insurance? Ako, may insurance ako because I don't want to be a burden to my children. Pati yung aking kabaong, family plan ko, I prepared it when I was 18. You know, I don't want to be a burden to anybody. Why don't they think about that at bakit yung mga pagpapasarap sa buhay ang mga inuuna nila?
"A month before her bukol was discovered, she went to Cambodia and she stayed in a $400-a-day hotel and when it was my turn to go, I stayed only in an $80-hotel because ang pinupuntahan mo naman dun, mga templo. Tapos noong inopera siya, she was in a regular private room. When I got back the next morning, since I was there every day, she was already in a suite. So, ako, I did not question it anymore because everything that happened to Liezel was Albert's decision.
"I wanted Liezel's operation at St. Luke's Hospital because St. Luke has a very good Cancer and Research Institute, and also because it will be more convenient for me. But no, she decided to have it at Medical City which takes me an hour to get there because of traffic.
"I've recommended an oncologist which is a good friend of mine, an oncologist in St. Luke's. But you know, galit pa siya sa akin. 'Ay, gusto ko itong oncologist ko!' This oncologist will not charge me a cent because she is my good friend. But they wanted all these expenses.
"Pagkatapos, noong bayaran na, yung bill, I was waiting there for the doctor. I told Albert and Liezl that I wanted to be present during the conference because I want to know exactly what my daughter is undergoing. Pagkatapos, siyempre, tinawag ng nurse si Albert. 'Mr. Martinez, nandoon na po ang mga doctors, ready na po for conference.' Hindi niya ako tinawag. Alangan namang ipagpilitan ko sarili ko?
"Noong pumasok siya sa kuwarto, mag-uumpisa pa lang siya ng salita na 'I have both good news and bad news,' tumayo ako, hinabol ko ang mga doctors. Sabi ko, sampu sila, 'Doctors, I am the mother. I would like to know exactly because I can take it at hindi naman ako isang tanga na hindi ko maiintindihan 'yan.' So, they sat down again dahil nag-aayos na sila ng mga papers. And then, I talked to them and they answered everything that I wanted to know."
Patuloy niyang kuwento, "Si Albert, aalis na. Inabot sa kanya ni Rachel yung bills. Tapos, sabi ba naman ni Albert, nginunguso niya na ibigay sa akin ang bills. Meron bang ganun? Asawa ka. Lalake ka. Kahit ba anak ko si Liezel, ang dapat nun, makipag-usap siya na parang tunay na lalake. Huwag yung iningunguso sa akin. E, kitang-kita ko. Dapat nun, 'Ma, paano ba 'to? Ma, ganito lang ang pera namin.' E, alam naman nilang hindi na ako nag-aartista. Whatever little money I am making is just enough for me to live on a decent lifestyle. Hindi yung lifestyle of the rich and famous."
"IT IS MY DUTY TO TEACH MY DAUGHTER HOW TO BE GRATEFUL." Sa kundisyon ngayon ni Liezel, tila ang kailangan niya ngayon ay suporta at pagmamahal, pero meron pa rin silang hindi pagkakaintindihan ng kanyang ina. Ano ang masasabi ni Amalia rito?
"Siya lang ang merong hindi pagkakaintindihan," sagot ng dating aktres. "Ako, as I've said, three months ago, I gave her P200,000. One thing about Liezel, I offered her my physical, emotional, and financial support. But the only thing that she has accepted was the financial side.
"Alam mo, katulad kay Kris [Aquino], hinahangaan ko si Kris... Although her mother [former President Cory Aquino] was very rich and can afford all the medical, and yet, alam mo si Kris, nagbibigay sa mother niya whatever she can give. As a token ba to show her mother that 'I care'. Bakit ako, since Anna Liza was born up to this day, she has never given me anything. Not a cent. Because she feels that I can afford it. But you know, the mother also feels na, 'Uy, nagsasakripisyo ang aking anak para masiyahan ako.'"
Saan ba niya gustong pumunta ang isyung ito at paano sila magkakaayos ni Liezel?
"Ewan ko kung magkakaayos pa kami. Kasi ako naman, I will not take any kind of ano from her. Because as a mother, it is my duty to teach my daughter how to be grateful. Yes, para siya ang nag-accept ng award, lahat ng tao, 'thank you, thank you,' pati si Aga [Amalia's nephew]. E, kung si Aga, hindi ko anak, he acknowledged all the help that I have given him. I've raised him also like a brother to Liezel. Because I realized, Liezel needed a brother or sister. And that's Arlene and Aga nga. But for her, just to dismiss me with a sorry, oo, siya ang naging sorry because God will not let it go by. God will punish her.
"Before I came here, I prayed for this and I told the Lord, 'Lord, if it's the right thing to do, let me go on with the show. And if it's not right, then hindi matutuloy ito.' I leave everything in the hands of God. Even her life, even yung mga relationship namin... Hindi rin naman puwede yung one-sided lamang na ako lang yung salita nang salita sa kanya tapos siya, e, magsasalita sa TV para lang pasalamatan ang lahat ng tao, pati si Pops, buhay niya utang. Hindi tama yun."
Gaano ba niya kamahal ang kanyang anak?
"You know, I have never loved anybody as much as I love my daughter," sabi ni Amalia. "This is harder for me to come here and denounce her because a mother's love doesn't need any kind of affirmation. Kahit ano pang pagkakamali ang nagawa niya, nagtanan siya, pinaakyat niya si Albert sa bahay ko, na hindi ko ginawa sa buhay ko. Ako ang may-ari ng bahay. Ako ang nagpagawa. I respected my own house. You know, ginawa na niyang lahat ng kabastusan sa akin, pero napatawad ko pa rin siya.
"So, ngayon, kung nakikinig ka Liezel, just remember that I love you. You don't have to say you're sorry and you don't have to say you have to be an ideal daughter. I've accepted you in the same manner that you accepted your children. At lahat ng gusto mong mangyari sa anak mo, yun din ang gusto kong mangyari sa anak ko. Lahat ng ipinagdarasal mo at lahat ng pagmamahal na ibinibigay mo sa anak n'yo, ganundin ang ibinigay ko at alam 'yan ng lahat."
Sinubukan ng PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) na kunin ang panig nina Liezel at Albert ngunit hindi raw sila magsasalita tungkol sa isyung ito. Ganunpaman, mananatiling bukas ang PEP sa panig ng mag-asawa kung sakaling handa na silang magsalita.