(Note: This interview with Jinkee Pacquiao was published in the January 2010 issue of YES! magazine.)
Parang nanginginig ako...hindi ko ma-explain 'yong feeling. Noong nakita ko siya, sabi ko, parang, 'Sana hindi ko na lang siya nakita.' Pangit pala 'yong napi-feel mo pag ganoon... First time ko 'yong gano'n, e—'yong may natsitsismis sa asawa ko, 'tapos nakita ko? Noong tiningnan ko siya, parang sandali lang. Ayoko siyang tingnan nang matagal."
That's how Jinkee Pacquiao, whose marriage to billionaire world boxing champ Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao is going into its 10th year, describes how she felt when she saw Krista by happenstance inside the Chanel store at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas in November last year .
Krista, of course, is the young actress Krista Ranillo, whose name has been attached to Manny's for several months now.
KRISTA. Born Cristalle Lauren Tupaz Ranillo, Krista, [then] 25,comes from a long line of showbiz luminaries.
Her father, 1970s matinee idol Mat Ranillo III, nicknamed Archie, who often played Christ in sinakulos, is an award-winning actor (1979 FAMAS best actor for Isang Ama, Dalawang Ina; 1978 FAMAS best supporting actor for Masarap, Masakit ang Umibig; 1978 Gawad Urian nomination as best supporting actor for Dalawang Pugad, Isang Ibon).
Her father's sister, Suzette Ranillo, is also an award-winning actress (1974 FAMAS best supporting actress for Gimingaw Ako).
Her grandparents, the late Mat Ranillo Jr. and FAMAS Lifetime Achievement Awardee Gloria Sevilla, were known in their prime as the King and Queen of Visayan Movies.
Like many sons and daughters of showbiz parentage, Krista also pursued acting, starting out on GMA-7's drama show Lira at the age of 12, and appearing in films and telenovelas until her young adult years. Despite her innate acting talent, hers was a lackluster career.
She then went on leave from showbiz for four years (2002-2007) to get a college degree—from the Ateneo de Manila University, where she took up Interdisciplinary Studies, with concentrations in communication arts and psychology.
When she made a showbiz comeback in 2008, she was a different Krista. She had become sexier, more confident, more self-assured. Those traits proved useful in the reinvention that she sought to achieve: as a sexy star who knows how to act.
This time around, she began accepting bold roles. In her comeback film, the indie Paupahan (2008), she played a foul-mouthed prostitute. In Marino (2009), she is a competitive mistress. Her father made a big show of what he said was his disappointment—in contrast to the huge silence of her then fiancé, Dominic Zapata, the director of such hit teleseryes as Mulawin, Darna, and Zorro—over Krista baring a lot of skin and having daring sex scenes in both films.
Almost simultaneously, her angelic face and almost naked body began gracing the covers of men's magazines.
Then, sometime in 2009, Krista Ranillo met Manny Pacquiao.
They were introduced to each other, says a GMA-7 insider, by Manny's fashion stylist, Cathy "Kat" Binag, who grooms Manny for his sitcom Show Me Da Manny. Manny got Kat to work for him in his Metro Manila Film Festival entry, Wapakman, where Krista plays a villain role.
It's not clear whether Manny already knew Krista before Wapakman, which started filming in late July 2009, or whether they met for the first time on the set. At any rate, just months after filming started, blind items began to appear in showbiz tabloids, about a sexy actress and an athlete dating in Hong Kong. Later, the characters in the blind items were given names: Krista and Manny.
At that time, Krista had no problem admitting to entertainment columnist Ricky Lo that she had indeed bumped into Manny in Hong Kong. But she denied that they had left Manila together. They did depart from Hong Kong on the same plane, but she pointed out that Manny was seated in business class, while she and her companions were in economy.
In his column "Funfare" (Philippine Star, September 11, 2009), Ricky Lo quotes Krista as saying: "I met him by chance at a mall in Kowloon... When we arrived in Manila Monday night, Manny asked us to go with them in the [airport] VIP line but we said no. Being a gentleman, he offered Belinda [Bright, a former sexy star] and me a ride in his car and we went straight to the Manila Polo Club for Wilson Tieng's birthday bash. That's where people saw us together... I have nothing to hide, I'm not guilty of anything, so I agreed to ride with him in his car."
HERE, THERE & EVERYWHERE. The supposed Hong Kong episode was, Krista said, a mere chance encounter.
But after that, there were more sightings of Krista and Manny together, in places other than film sets.
They were seen several times in Baguio last September, when Manny stopped filming for a brief period to focus on his training for the fight against Puerto Rican boxing champ Miguel Cotto. The Baguio sightings were mere rumors in the beginning. But then someone sent ABS-CBN some photos that the sender claimed he had taken in Baguio in September.
One, allegedly taken at Camp John Hay, showed Manny in the foreground and, behind him, Krista alighting from a van. Another, apparently taken at the Baguio Cathedral, showed both Krista and Manny walking down an incline, but at a distance from each other. A third photo showed Manny and Krista dining at the Manor Hotel with a group that included Krista's father, Mat Ranillo III.
Some nasty rumors going around had it that Mat might be in need of financial support for his reported bid for a position in the coming 2010 elections. His first attempt in politics was in 2007, when he ran for a congressional seat in Zamboanga del Norte, and lost.
There was nothing incriminating in the Baguio photos. But the mere existence of those photos, showing Krista and Manny in the same places in the same city at the same time, fanned the fire of speculation.
The two were again seen together, along with Mat, distributing relief goods at the San Isidro Elementary School in Angono, Rizal, on October 4, 2009, a week after Typhoon Ondoy devastated Luzon. Again, there was nothing strange here. It could pass for a story of friends supporting each other in efforts to help the needy, although the group organizing the distribution was the Show Me Da Manny team, which officially did not include Krista or Mat.
And then, Manny and Krista continued to be seen together on several occasions. And on all these occasions, Jinkee was nowhere in sight. One such occasion was a dinner at the Edsa Shangri-La Hotel, where, according to an insider in the Pacquiao circle, Krista was serving Manny food. "Parang siya ang asawa," said the insider (who spoke on condition of anonymity).
On November 1, 2009, Krista and her family—father Mat, mother Linda, brother Kevin, and sister Trixie—left for Los Angeles. The rumor mills spread the word that their business-class flight was paid for by Manny.
But the Krista camp said the family had gone to L.A. to seek medical treatment for Trixie, who was "born with an open cleft-lip palate" which has required several surgical operations, according to a piece posted in 2007 by Krista on the blog http://matranillo.blogspot.com.
And Krista's manager, Arnold Vegafria, in an interview with entertainment reporter Bayani San Diego (Philippine Daily Inquirer, November 20, 2009), denied that the whole family flew business class. Furthermore, Arnold said, Krista's family is now based in Los Angeles, where her younger brother works as a chef and her younger sister studies.
At the time Krista and her family arrived in L.A., Manny was already there, continuing his training. It was at around this same time, according to our Paquiao-circle insider, that Krista and her mother set foot in the house in L.A.'s Hancock Park that Manny and Jinkee own. "Naglinga-linga doon," was how our source put it.
Then, on November 4, Manila time, a video was uploaded on YouTube by a disappointed Pacquiao fan. The video, which instantly made it to the TV news, showed Manny leaving the parking lot of theABC television studio in Hollywood after guesting on the late-night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live! Manny, who is known for being accommodating to his fans, was leaving in a hurry in the black Mercedes Benz he was driving himself. With him in the front seat was an unidentified woman who, for reasons unknown, was covering her face.
Our Pacquiao-circle insider claimed the mysterious woman was indeed Krista. "Hanggang sa loob ng studio, kasama siya."
Then came Vegas. Manny invited the Ranillo family over to watch him fight. This was verified by Arnold Vegafria himself, in a statement on TV. "I think they became good friends, and up to now, I think, she's part of Team Pacquiao," Arnold said in a brief taped interview for ABS-CBN's The Buzz in November. "That's why she's going to Las Vegas. She said they're good friends, and they're going out together as a group."
This casual comment from Krista's manager elicited more questions instead of clarifying matters. Like, how does one become a member of Team Pacquiao? Why were Manny's other female co-stars in movies and TV shows not invited to become Team Pacquiao members? The answer given by our Pacquiao-circle insider, whose heart goes out to Jinkee, was unprintable.
The same Pacquiao-circle insider claimed that Manny billeted the whole family at the luxury suite of the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas, and that he gave each family member a front-row ticket (worth $3,000 each) to the Pacquiao-Cotto fight.
Although Manny was staying at the Mandalay Hotel, our source claimed that he was a frequent visitor at the Ranillo suites, which he was "paying for in the first place."
Another source, a friend of both Manny's and Jinkee's, claimed he twice saw Manny walking the interior pathway that connects the Mandalay to the Luxor. These two Manny sightings at Luxor, according to this other source, happened the night before and the day after Manny's victorious fight.
On fight night itself, however, Krista was apparently not at the MGM Grand Arena. At least, no Pinoys have come out to testify that they saw her there, watching the fight. It was Jinkee who was at ringside.
JINKEE KNOWS. Jinkee Jamora, who exchanged vows with Manny Pacquiao in August 2000 in General Santos City—located in the Mindanao province of South Cotabato, and better known as Gensan—admits that this is not the first time she has cried over the problem of her husband's alleged womanizing. In showbiz alone, the names Ara Mina, Rufa Mae Quinto, and Valerie Concepcion have been linked to Manny's in the past.
There have also been reports of Manny visiting bars and flirting with non-showbiz women. One woman even claimed that she had a son by him and filed a lawsuit for financial support—but her case did not progress in court.
Indeed, Jinkee has already braved many a storm.
Jinkee says she can't fully blame her husband. In a phone interview with DJ Mo Twister on GMA-7's Showbiz Central on November 22, 2009, she said that with Manny's wealth and fame came a lot of temptations, and the most beguiling temptation for Manny is the one called women.
In that interview, Jinkee said she blamed the women: "Madami talagang lumalapit. Madaming nagpapapansin. Pero sana, 'yong mga babae diyan na parang nakikisawsaw, di ba—may family 'yong tao, may asawa at mga anak. We built this family. Naging masaya kami. Kasama namin ang Diyos. Sana isipin nila... Saka mula pa noon hanggang ngayon, kami ang magkasama. Sana maisip nila na sana tulungan nilang maging masaya ang aming family at huwag na nilang dagdagan ang problema kung ano pa man masyado."
In the YES! interview in November in Los Angeles, Jinkee admits that she cried again upon hearing the stories going around about the alleged romance of her husband of nearly 10 years with a woman called Krista.
"Siyempre, hindi naman mawawala 'yon, na pagka nasaktan ka, pag kailangan mong i-release 'yong mga gusto mong sabihin—minsan di mo na mapigilang umiyak. Noong umpisa, talagang sobrang iniyakan ko."
In the beginning, she says, she tried ignoring the stories she had been hearing.
"Nasa Gensan ako, hindi kami magkasama, marami akong naririnig, pero binale-wala ko lang. Kahit nga mayroon siyang nakakasama sa Baguio, ganyan, hinayaan ko lang na ano... Ayoko lang muna kasi mag-isip. Parang napagod na 'yong utak ko."
But the decision to shrug off the rumors didn't mean that she didn't know anything.
"Alam ko naman, e. Kasi hindi ko naman dapat ipagkaila na mayroon talagang nangyari, kasi buong bayan or lahat ng tao, alam nila. Hindi naman puwedeng ako lang ang walang alam. Nagpe-pretend ako na wala akong alam."
What made the situation harder for her was that she could not confront her husband about the persistent rumors—especially since Manny was preparing for a major fight, one that involved not just millions of dollars but also a nation's pride.
"Kasi, ako, parang lahat iniintindi ko, para sa kanya," Jinkee explains. "Hindi puwedeng mag-usap kayo sa problema pag may fight. Kung meron ka man i-ano sa kanya na parang i-topic, about sa ganoon, hindi puwede, e, kasi maapektuhan 'yong fight niya. Parang intindihin mo din na gano'n. Puwede naman pag-usapan after the fight."
Our Pacquiao-circle source puts it bluntly: "Inisip ni Jinkee, baka mamaya mawala sa mood, matalo—siya ang sisihin ng mga tao. Kawawa nga, e."
Indeed, Jinkee was confused at that time. Would she fight it out, or would she let go?
The same source adds: "Ang daming nag-a-advise sa kanya, puntahan mo [sa Baguio], sumugod ka na doon. Noong una, ayaw. Mag-aaway lang daw sila doon. May problema talaga sila noon. Di sila nag-uusap masyado."
Jinkee eventually went to Baguio, but she was too late. Manny, who wasn't telling her about his schedules, was already in Manila.
Back then, Jinkee preferred suffering alone. She just found herself crying some more and beseeching God's mercy.
"Inaano ko na di ko lubos maisip na makayanan ko lahat," she admits. "Parang, siyempre, alam ko naman na tinutulungan ako ng Diyos na maging matatag."
At times, she says, she would seek out the company of her siblings and friends.
"May times na gusto ko mapag-isa. Gusto ko 'yong mga kapatid ko lang ang kasama ko, 'yong mga close ko, 'yong concerned talaga. Mas ngayong nare-realize ko na 'yong mga nangyayari, parang alam ko kung sino 'yong totoong family ko, totoong kaibigan ko, na nandiyan para sa akin...
"Sabi ko nga, na-realize ko na ganoon. Mayroon 'yong mga taong hanggang ngayon hindi pa tanggap na kami... na mas masaya sila na magkaganito kami. Ngayon ko lang na-realize na may mga taong nakapaligid sa amin, ngayon ko lang nalaman talaga, kung sino 'yong true friends, true family, true person, true people—mga ganoon."
And who of these friends and relations turned out to be less than true?
"'Yong mga kaibigan ko na meron na silang alam, 'tapos hindi man lang ako ini-inform, kahit di na lang sila nagpakilala. Parang gano'n. Parang ano din, parang binale-wala din nila 'yong pagkakaibigan namin, na may alam sila, 'tapos hindi man lang ako sinabihan."
In her book, she says, these people are blacklisted now. "Nakatatak na sila, 'yong mga pangalan nila, sa isip ko."
But she adds that she's still willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. "Pero siguro, natakot lang din sila... Hindi ko naman sila bini-blame, pero at least, alam ko kung sino 'yong mga totoong tao—yong totoong nagmahal sa akin bilang kaibigan."
THE WORST. It doesn't take a genius to read between the lines of what Jinkee has been saying in the media since she arrived last November 20.
"Hindi din naman puwedeng bale-walain 'yon," Jinkee tells YES! "Kasi, kailangan din ng tao ng sagot, kung anuman 'yong mga naririnig."
Her taped interview with GMA-7 reporter Jiggy Manicad, for the November 24 episode of 24 Oras, was particularly telling, especially in the portion where she boldly told Krista to stay away from married men.
"Bata pa siya, marami pa siyang gustong gawin sa buhay niya, may future pa siya," she said in that interview, referring to Krista. "So isipin niya kung magiging masaya ba siya kung makiki-join siya sa isang tao na may family? Magiging masaya ba siya kung makasira siya ng isang pamilya? So, madami pa siyang makikilalang iba na single, di ba? Bakit kailangan pa sa isang may asawa? Si Manny, may mga anak, masaya ang family namin, mahirap 'yong masisira 'yong family... Dapat tulungan na lang na buo ang family, maging masaya sila para sa amin."
In fact, the media have said that Jinkee, by her pronouncements, is the one actually confirming the alleged romance between her husband and Krista. And it seems that the controversy has unleashed the fighter that lives within her.
"Siyempre, kailangan ko naman maging matapang," she points out to YES! "Kailangan kong maging matapang para sa mga anak namin. Di ko naman alam na tapang 'yon, noong sinabi ko, e. Pero sinabi ko na lang 'yong nasa loob ko. Compare sa sasabihin ko sa kanya, hindi ko siya puwedeng, 'yong parang, murahin ko siya? Wala naman akong magagawa do'n, e. Ang akin lang, advice sa kanya, bilang isang babae. At least ma-realize niya na nagkamali rin siya, di ba?"
To YES!, she also admits that the Krista problem is the "worst na worst" that she has experienced of all the several marital storms that she has weathered.
"Kasi masakit na 'yong... parang makita mo silang nagsama, kagaya noong sa Kimmel show," says Jinkee, who can't even bring herself to say the name Krista.
Jinkee is positive that the mystery woman who was with Manny in the car after his appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! was indeed Krista.
"Naniniwala ako na siya 'yon... Parang masakit tingnan na 'yong asawa mo, may kasamang iba sa kotse. Masakit. Kasi di ko pa nakikita na ganoon, e. Laging nakikita ko kay Manny, puro kaibigan. Kaibigan 'yong kasama niya. Masakit na makita mo na ganoon.
"E, makikita mo naman," she asserts. "What you see is what you get, 'yon na 'yon. Kung anuman 'yong nakita ng mga tao, 'yon na 'yon."
In Jinkee's mind, what's even harder to swallow is that the alleged dalliance became too brazenly public.
"Kasi sila, parang... alam ko, alam ng mga tao, na parang iyong sinasabi nila na lantaran na ginagawa? Parang hindi naman 'tinatago?" she says, almost unbelieving.
Then she adds, referring this time to her husband in particular, "Iyong inaano ko lang, 'yong respeto. Sana ni-respect niya. Siguro, 'yon lang din iyong naging mali niya, na parang 'yong respect niya sa akin, nawala, na parang 'pinapakita niya sa ibang tao—may ganito, ganyan... may babae, or sino ba 'yang 'sinasama diyan.
"Sana 'yong respect lang, ibinigay niya sa akin... Sabi ko, nanahimik naman ako. Hindi ako nanggulo. Hindi ako umimik. Habang nagte-training siya, hindi ako nang-istorbo."
The self-control that Jinkee exhibited then was not likely to last. At some point, she knew she was going to break.
The moment came during the celebration of the thanksgiving Mass for Manny on November 15 at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas. While the priest was delivering his homily, Jinkee began sobbing beside Manny. And the whole world was watching.
"Hindi ko na napigilan," she admits now. "I don't care kung may camera man, basta 'yong feeling ko na gano'n, nasaktan ako, na-touch ako, naiyak ako."
At that point, Jinkee had been itching to talk to Manny about the problem, but was still waiting for her chance. She couldn't bring herself to talk to him about marital issues because "nirerespeto ko lang ang kalagayan niya, kasi masakit ang ulo niya, nabugbog din siya [sa fight], parang nahirapan din siya."
The unspoken words found their way out as tears.
WHAT HAPPENED IN VEGAS...Although Krista and her family were in Las Vegas before, during, and after Manny's fight with Cotto, no one—or at least not one media person—saw Krista anywhere. But as if destiny was at play, it was Jinkee herself who was given that chance encounter.
Jinkee was out shopping with friends and relations at the Chanel store of the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas. Krista was with her own group. Jinkee can't recall exactly who saw whom first. What's clear in her mind is the fact that she felt something entirely new and strange. Of all the women who had been linked with Manny, it was only Krista whom she had encountered in this manner, while the issue was still burning.
She tells YES! that she could not bear to look at Krista for a long time, and Krista seemed to avoid looking at her.
"Parang nag-ikot-ikot lang din sila," she recalls. "Tiningnan ko lang siya, and then tumalikod na 'ko. Hindi din niya 'ko tiningnan. Parang busy din siya sa pag-shopping, pumipili. Pero hindi talaga kami umalis sa store. Sila 'yong unang umalis."
Although Jinkee says she was "nanginginig," she remained composed and guarded.
"'Yong mga kasama ko 'yong madaming mga salita," she says. "Pero ako, tahimik lang. Sinabihan ko lang sila na puwede naman kaming mag-usap [ni Krista], pero hindi naman puwedeng sa ganito kami pumuwesto. Hindi ito Pilipinas. U.S. 'yon, e, hindi natin teritoryo. 'Tsaka sabi ko, 'Parang not worth it din na awayin mo. Hayaan mo siya.'"
But what Jinkee did not know at the time she was in the store is that a confrontation almost did happen. According to a member of Jinkee's entourage, they were all controlling themselves and kept unusually quiet while Krista's own entourage was still inside the store. Then at one point, says the Jinkee entourage member, someone from Krista's group, described only as "pregnant," hissed, "'Wag lang silang mauuna." The moment passed.
If Jinkee felt at that time that she was open to a talk with Krista to thresh things out, she changed her mind once she set foot in Gensan. She tells YES! on December 1, the same day Manny filed his certificate of candidacy, that should Krista's camp make an effort to reach out to her, she, Jinkee, was not going to give in.
"Para sa akin, di na kami kailangang mag-usap. Alam niya kung ano'ng mali niya, ganyan. Bakit kailangan kami mag-usap? Wala naman kaming dapat pag-usapan. Para sa akin, wala kaming dapat pag-usapan."
At the time this article was published, Krista's camp—primarily, her father, Mat Ranillo III, and her manager, Arnold Vegafria—had already hired a lawyer, Atty. Tonisito Umali, to speak on Krista's behalf. Krista's camp claims that there was a threat on Krista's life—from whom, they did not say—and that the lawyer was studying all angles and the history of the controversy, to determine whom to file libel charges against.
Jinkee isn't bothered. She says she has nothing to fear if the issue goes to court.
"Sila ang nag-umpisa nito," she says. "So, ako, sumagot lang ako, di ba? Parang sila ang nag-umpisa ng gulo, di ba?"
Zeroing in on Krista, she stresses:
"Sana inisip niya, bago niya inumpisahan 'yong gulo, kung sino ang maapektuhan, sino ang masasaktan, gano'n. Kung 'yon talaga ang gusto niyang gawin sa buhay, na maki-ano sa may asawa, ako pa nga mag-advise sa kanya: 'Sana nagtago ka na lang. Bakit mo i-ano sa buong Pilipinas, e, may asawa nga 'yong tao? Bakit, parang... ngayon ka lang naging ganyan, e, champion na 'yan? 'Buti kung small ano 'yan lang siya, small guy lang 'yan na walang... hindi sikat—ewan ko kung papansinin mo.'
"Sa tingin ko sa mukha no'n, may standard naman siya sa isang lalaki na puwede niyang sagutin o puwede niyang maging boyfriend at maging asawa, di ba?"
Jinkee, who may already have softened up on her husband, is clearly not inclined to do the same for Krista. But Jinkee makes clear that it's not hatred that she feels for Krista. If anything, it's puzzlement. Sympathy even.
"May abugado siya... Tingnan mo 'yong buhay niya ngayon, di ba? Dapat inisip niya 'yan, before siya nag-jump into that situation. Sana inisip niya na artista pa siya, kung mamahalin ba siya ng tao kung ganyan ang gagawin niya? Tingnan mo, parang nasira 'yong reputation niya at saka 'yong family nila, dahil sa hindi niya pag-iisip...
"Pag nakikita ko nga siya [sa news], parang ako pa nga 'yong naaawa sa kanya. 'Tingnan mo ngayon nangyari sa buhay mo.' Parang minsan, ako 'yong ate niya, 'Tingnan mo nangyari sa buhay mo ngayon... pag nakikita ka ng mga tao, hindi mo alam kung maging okey sila sa 'yo, magiging fan mo pa sila.'
"Kumbaga, ganyan, baka mumurahin pa siya ng ibang tao, gano'n, dahil sa ginawa niya. So parang hindi na siya makakalabas na taas-noo siyang humarap sa mga tao."
THE STORY NEVER ENDS... The popular slogan, and hit bumper sticker, "Whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas," has not held true for the Krista-Manny story. Out of Vegas and back in the Philippines, new details about the alleged affair keep floating up.
A Philippine-based reporter who was in Vegas for the fight picked up information that Manny and Krista were supposed to have left L.A. for Manila together, on November 18. They would have done so without any hassle because Jinkee was supposed to leave on the 19th.
But Jinkee reportedly got inside information about the supposed plan and instantly wanted to be on the November 18 flight. Still according to the reporter, Manny may have foreseen that something like this might happen, so he supposedly made sure that Krista had double booking.
The November 18 Philippine Airlines (PAL) flight bound for Manila allegedly listed Manny and Krista as VIP passengers.
"Ang seat number ni Manny, 1A, 'tapos si Krista, 3A," an airport insider told YES! on condition of anonymity. "Basta si Krista, may double booking—November 18 'tsaka November 19. Nasa manifesto si Krista ng November 18, pero imbes na siya 'yong sumakay, ang sumakay si Jinkee."
The mix-ups caused a delay in the PAL PR 103 flight, which was supposed to depart from L.A. at 9:15 p.m.
"Na-delay ang flight," the airport insider added. "Nakalipad, 9:40 na... Kasi parang si Jinkee, noong una, ayaw sumakay. Kinausap sila ni Chavit [Singson]."
Another source, a co-passenger on that same flight, observed Jinkee looking very upset.
"Noong nakaupo na si Jinkee sa eroplano, may inaayos siya, 'tapos dumating si Manny," the passenger narrated. "Kasama ni Manny si Chavit. Pag-upo ni Manny sa may bintana, tumayo si Jinkee, nasagi siya. 'Tapos, nalaglag 'yong Louis Vuitton wallet ni Jinkee. Dinampot ni Manny, tinatawag siya. Hindi siya pinansin ni Jinkee. Tuloy-tuloy si Jinkee. Ang pinag-abot ni Manny no'ng wallet kay Jinkee, 'yong stewardess na lang."
Jinkee says, however, that she has no recall of any of this.
"Dapat nga ang uwi ko pa November 25, e, kasi mamimili pa ako ng paninda ko. E, sabi ni Manny, hindi puwedeng hindi ako kasabay kasi baka mamaya pagpiyestahan na naman tayo [ng media]. Ayon, sumabay ako.
"Pero noong nasa Gensan pa ako, bago mag-L.A., sinabi ko na na hindi ako sasabay. Sabi ko, kung gusto niya, samahan niya akong mamili. Kaso, later on, hindi na nga puwede, kasi malala na dito sa Pilipinas ang isyu. So, kailangan ko na ding umuwi, kasi baka madagdagan pa.
"Hindi ko alam 'yang tungkol sa nagpa-book siya ng ibang tao... Hindi naman siguro. Sobra naman 'yon."
Media reports, meantime, had Krista arriving from L.A. on December 6, 2009, and being fetched directly from the airplane by an airport official, who is said to have whisked her through a different exit route in the arrival area. Effectively, this hid her from the media persons who had been awaiting her arrival for weeks.
MORE TALK. The talk goes on. A big one is about $2 million that Manny was supposed to have given to Krista as balato.
"Kiyemeng magsososyo sila ni Manny sa isang restaurant business sa Las Vegas," the Pacquiao-circle insider said of this supposed balato. "Pero ano ang sosyo doon kung isa lang ang naglalabas ng pera?"
Krista's manager Arnold Vegafria denied this allegation on TV. "Ni singko, wala," he said.
But even if the story were true, Jinkee is dismissive. "E, 'yang si Manny generous naman talaga 'yan kahit sa ibang tao," she says. Then, with a hint of sarcasm, she laughs. "So, kung nabalatuhan, di, okey. Share your blessings, di ba? Hahaha!"
At this point, we manage to ask Jinkee if she knows about or has heard the rumor that Krista set foot in her L.A. home before Jinkee arrived there in early November. It turns out that she did learn about it, and Manny admitted to it much later on.
"May party daw," goes Jinkee's story. "Kasama 'yong may-ari ng isang supermarket na taga-Maynila na kilala ni Manny. Madami naman daw tao, hindi lang sila. Pati daw 'yong parents, nandoon.
"Tinanong ko si Manny noong nag-usap kami, 'yon din ang sabi niya, may party, kaya welcome daw ang mga bisita."
But Jinkee admits to feeling that something was not right about the woman being linked to her husband stepping foot in her home, and muses that things might have turned out differently had she been there.
"Nasa Gensan pa kasi ako noon," she recalls. "Hindi ko naman alam ang mga itinerary nila, kung saan sila pumupunta. Hindi ko naman alam na isa pala ang bahay ko sa pinuntahan. E, may party nga daw. Hindi ko nga alam na may party doon noon. Kung naabutan ko siya [Krista] doon sa bahay ko, siguro kakausapin ko na siya...pero 'yong usap na walang gulo."
As the Krista-Manny story goes around, public reaction in this age of interactive mass media, of Facebook and Twitter, has expectedly been swift. Techies and Internet café habitues have been voicing their opinions and posting their comments in blogs, websites, egroups, and online publications. One creative blogger has even made an imitation fight poster based on the Pacquiao-Cotto poster, replacing Manny's head with Jinkee's and Cotto's with Krista's. On a number of Facebook accounts, the resulting Photoshopped image has been given the tag "Team Jinkee Versus Team Krista: Whose Side Are You On?"
In the online voting, Team Jinkee always wins. Even the fan website www.kristaranillo.net acknowledges: "It seems that Team Jinkee is winning, though."
Whether this will hold true for Jinkee in real life remains to be seen.
NO SHOW, NO TALK. One voice has yet to be heard on this messy controversy—Krista's.
Krista has been crucified (no pun intended) in the press. Her name has been attached to truly unpleasant nouns: mistress, home wrecker, gold digger. Twitterers have chosen to "make pun" of her, calling her the "Pambansang K-------" (a multiple-letter word that literally means a species of bird but figuratively means "a kept woman") by virtue of Manny being the Pambansang Kamao.
These twitterers have also played on the phrase "matalik na kaibigan" that Manny used to describe her, replacing the first word with a similar-sounding but sexually suggestive word. But at press time, she had yet to defend herself in public.
"Hindi siya nagtatago, hindi siya natatakot," said her manager, Arnold Vegafria. "Matapang 'yon. Nagpapalamig lang." He added that Krista is "still suffering from anxiety attacks."
Krista's father, however, has spoken up to counter the "baseless accusations" against his person and his family. In the November 15 episode of The Buzz, in a text message addressed to show host Boy Abunda, Mat Ranillo III issued the family's statement on the issue.
The statement read: "Dear Kuya Boy, our sincere thanks for your love and being impartial about Krista's issue sa The Buzz. We've been accused and abused but we've forgiven those who wronged us even though they know the truth and still fabricate lies. The family is deeply hurt with this insanity. People are amused with the negativism [rather] than national honor, cultivate hate [rather] than love. Thanks, peace and good health to you."
Krista's manager, Arnold Vegafria, also lauded Manny's effort to clear Krista's name. In an official statement reprinted on November 24 on the Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP), the website affiliate of YES! Magazine, Arnold said: "I'm glad that Manny took the initiative in issuing an apology to the Ranillo family, who has been suffering from anguish because of all the unfounded rumors linking him to Krista. I also hope that his denial will finally put the issue to rest. For what he just did, I commend Manny for being not just a legendary boxing hero but a true gentleman even outside the ring."
But that didn't stop the attacks and innuendoes.
Later, from his Los Angeles address, Mat issued a formal written statement, a longer one this time. The statement (posted on November 26 on the website SPOT.ph) read:
"Our family is deeply saddened by the continuing negative publicity being hurled upon us as a result of the alleged inappropriate relationship of Krista Ranillo with Manny Pacquiao. We are also extremely alarmed by the death threats that our family has received from some unknown individuals who are claiming that such inappropriate relationship exists.
"We appeal to media to exercise balance, fairness and accuracy in their reporting.
"Our family categorically denies that any inappropriate relationship exists between Pacquiao and Krista Ranillo. We thought that our silence will stop all these lies being peddled in the Philippine media by some unscrupulous people.
"To protect our interest on this matter, we have engaged the services of Atty. Tonisito Umali, a Philippine and California lawyer, to serve as our counsel and spokesperson. We have also requested Umali to do the following:
"1. Study all the negative publicity shown in Philippine TV talk shows and news programs and published in major newspapers to determine whether any of our rights as individuals are violated and/or whether such materials are considered unprotected speech or libelous.
"2. Study the derogatory and untruthful comments made by Gina Alajar in her Facebook (and published in major newspapers and shown in major TV shows) and other media personalities to determine whether such comments are considered unprotected speech or libelous.
"3. Perform all legal acts necessary to protect our rights, interests and reputation in light of this negative publicity.
"So as not to jeopardize our attorney's efforts to study the legal implications of this negative publicity to our individual rights, we will not issue any further statement unless otherwise advised by our counsel."
Despite all this, Krista remained unheard from and unseen. Media efforts to reach her proved futile. The YES! team tried several times to get to her, and failed each time. We tried to reach her through her manager Arnold Vegafria, whom we called in Paris on December 18, and who clearly promised he would get Krista to speak to us. But follow-up calls to Arnold, once he was in Manila, produced nothing. We got hold of her email address through her writer-friend Dennis Evangelista and sent her a list of questions. No answer. Instead, we got this December 6 text message she sent to Dennis, who forwarded it to us: "Hallo! I'm back. How are you? I can't answer yes mag, pasensya."
In the course of our trying to reach Krista through Dennis, he was able to tell us some bits and pieces about his beleaguered friend's feelings.
Dennis has worked with Krista on two indie film projects, her comeback movie Paupahan, and the yet-to-be shown Marino. Dennis wrote the screenplay for both films. He's also the manager of Allen Dizon, Krista's leading man in the two films.
Needless to say, Dennis and Krista became close in the course of doing these two films. He describes Krista the actress as "very kolehiya na prim and proper sa love scenes, na kailangan mong bantayan to make sure na gagawin niya. She's very conscious." He says he also admires Krista's devotion to her family: "Mahal niya 'yong family niya."
Dennis says he also gets along well with TV and film director Dominic Zapata, who was Krista's boyfriend for eight years.
"Kasi before, halos every week, may party 'yong co-producer namin," Dennis recalls. "So lagi kaming nagkikita-kita, kasama si Direk Dominic. Ang alam ko, ikakasal na sila. Alam ng parents niya [Krista] na ikakasal na sila."
Thus, Dennis was dumbfounded when he heard about the couple's breakup. This was last September, at around the same time Krista was being linked with Manny.
Dennis—whom Krista addresses as Tito, or Uncle—says he asked Krista about it: "Kaya tinanong ko, 'Krista, ano ba 'yong sa inyo ni Direk? Nabigla naman ako.' I used to see them every Sunday do'n sa bahay nila. Sabi niya, 'Wala na, Tito. But one thing about that guy, hindi niya ako sinisiraan, and I admire him for that.'"
Indeed, Direk Dominic is still madly in love with Krista, says a veteran actress who has worked with Krista in a teleserye. Dominic also has the kind of personality that will make him believe anything his loved one tells him, says a middle-aged actor close to the director.
Dominic turned down our request for an interview, sending us this text message on November 28, 2009 (which, for clarity's sake, we are printing in a spell-corrected version): "So sorry, I'll have to turn you down on this one. I vowed not to break my silence because every time something is said or printed involving me, my parents get really affected. And they're not the youngest nor the healthiest people, if you know what I mean. I hope you understand. J Sorry again."
As for Dennis, when he heard about the Krista-Manny linkage, he felt bothered. He went out of his way to ask Krista about it.
"From time to time, I text her," says Dennis. "'Ano'ng totoo about this?' Ganyan, ganyan. Hindi siya sumasagot for quite some time until no'ng nag-The Buzz. Tinext ko siya, sabi ko, 'Whatever it is, kailangan i-defend mo ang sarili mo, and whether true 'yan or not, wala namang rights ang kahit na sino na i-judge ka. Sino ba 'yong malinis?'
"I keep on texting her na, 'Masisira ka with all of this. Kailangan magsalita ka or kung sino mang involved.'
"'Tapos, nag-text siya: 'I've been thinking about calling you, 'tapos nag-text ka. Ang galing. Usap tayo minsan. Salamat sa suporta and concern.'"
Then one day, Dennis says, he got a call from Krista, who was then still in the States. She flatly denied everything.
"Mga thirty minutes kaming nag-usap. She's denying it. Hindi daw totoo. Sabi ko, 'Krista, I'm talking to you as a friend. Rest assured na, parang, whatever it is, papaniwalaan kita because you're a friend. You're trusting me. I'm trusting you also na 'yong sinasabi mo, na hindi totoo 'yan.'
"Noong sinabi niya sa akin na hindi totoo, bilang kaibigan... sa mind ko, tama na 'yon."
Dennis says he told Krista everything that he had heard on the news, and one by one, Krista denied each allegation.
"Sabi ko, 'Bakit sa Baguio, nakikita ka?' Sabi niya, 'Tito Dennis, precisely. Kaya nga nakikita nila. Wala... Hindi ako guilty. Hindi totoo 'yon.' Sabi pa niya, 'Paano ko gagawin 'yan, e, alam ko makikita ako. Kung gagawa ako, discreet.'"
Dennis also asked her about the Hong Kong encounter and got the same answer she had given before: "Not true."
He says Krista also explained to him about a rumored Nike store incident in Las Vegas. According to the rumor, Manny, a Nike endorser, called the store management so Krista could shop undisturbed.
Dennis relays Krista's account: "Sabi niya, 'Diyos ko naman. Kung magpapasara si Manny, bakit sa Nike? Hindi naman ako mahilig sa mga Nike.' Ang defense niya, Manny is generous, and he's like that to everybody na he likes. Like 'yong sinasabi na Team Pacquiao—ang pinadala daw do'n sa Las Vegas, two hundred plus na katao."
Krista, Dennis goes on, also touched on the subject of the song "Sometimes When We Touch," alleged to be the Manny-Krista theme song, which is why Manny loves singing it, not only in his shows but also during his live appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
"Hindi rin daw totoo 'yon. Paborito lang daw kantahin 'yon ni Manny kapag mga videoke, mga gano'n. Parang si Allen [Dizon] daw. 'Di ba, Tito, paborito niyang [Allen] kantahin 'yong 'Bakit Ngayon Ka Lang?' May mga guys daw na may usual na kinakanta talaga."
According to Dennis, Krista is hurt by the battering she's getting from the media, particularly allegations that Manny paid for her family's trip to America.
"Sabi niya, 'Hindi lang naman ako ang kaibigan ni Manny, a?' Sabi niya, bakit daw siya ang idinidiin? 'Tsaka sabi pa niya, 'Masyado nila kaming minamaliit... Dati naman ako nakatira dito [sa Amerika]."
(Krista is referring to the time when the late actor Amado Cortez, second husband of Krista's Lola Gloria Sevilla, was the Philippine consul general in San Francisco, from 1998 to 2001.)
Dennis and Krista also touched on many other subjects, including the stylist named Kat, who has been depicted by columnist-host-manager Lolit Solis ("Abu Tilamzik," www.abante-tonite.com, November 27, 2009) as the "bugaw" between Manny and Krista. "Ba't naman kailangan daw siyang i-pimp? Sabi niya, hindi daw totoo. Mayaman daw 'yon."
And as for the alleged $2-million balato: "Wala daw balato. She made it clear na, 'Tito Dennis, wala.'
Since it seemed that there was a lot Krista wanted to say, Dennis tried to persuade her to defend herself.
"'Krista, you have to talk. Kailangan magpa-interview ka sa isang tao na trusted mo. Ganyan.' Parang hindi nga niya gusto 'yong lumalabas sa SNN, The Buzz. Tinatawag daw siyang starlet. 'Buti nga daw ang GMA, ang tawag sa kanya 'sexy actress.' Parang ganoon. Sabi ko, 'Magpa-interview ka kay Boy Abunda, or kung kanino man, sa YES! Magazine... ' Ganyan, ganyan.
"Sabi niya, 'Magbibigay din ako [ng interview], Tito, pagdating ko. Magsasalita din ako, pero hayaan mo muna magsalita si Manny, 'yong side niya.'
"That day, that particular day, alam niya 'yong oras. Sabi niya, 'Panoorin mo mamaya sa 24 Oras.'"
The reference was to the ambush interview conducted by the GMA-7 news program 24 Oras. Manny, who was besieged by the media at the arrival area of the NAIA in the morning of November 20, had grabbed at the chance to clear Krista's name and had apologized to her family.
Adds Dennis: "Ako nga, hindi ko alam, e. Alam niya."
THE GINA ALAJAR CONNECTION. This is not the first time that Krista Ranillo, young as she is, got herself entangled in an adult controversy. In 1999, while she was doing the blocktimer drama Rio del Mar on GMA-7, Krista, only 15 at that time, figured in an alleged relationship with her co-actor Michael de Mesa, aged 39 then. At that time, Michael was still very much married to seasoned actress Gina Alajar, who happened to be moonlighting as one of Rio del Mar's three unit directors.
In the course of the show's twice-a-week taping schedules, Krista and Michael became close, which happens all the time between actors on TV and movie sets. But then, the production staff reportedly began sensing that Krista and Michael were getting too close for comfort.
During breaks—so said a former production staffer of Rio del Mar—Michael and Krista would allegedly lock themselves up in Michael's car.
But wasn't Gina on the same set? Wouldn't she have noticed what was going on?
"Lagari kasi si Gina noon," said the same production staffer. "Me isa pa siyang show [Kirara, also on GMA]. Maski si Michael, nagdidirek din noon for ABS, kahit artista siya sa GMA. So, wala ring alam si Gina."
The story eventually leaked to the press and came out in the form of blind items. At showbiz dinners at that time, the alleged Krista-Michael romance, which is said to have lasted six months, was the staple appetizer and dessert.
Krista, said a common lady friend of Michael and Gina, must have been smitten with Michael, because the young actress was allegedly following him around.
"Nagta-teatro si Michael noon, 'yong Rent," said the couple's lady friend. "And si Krista, dumadalaw sa rehearsals. 'Tsaka parang si Krista ang unang... Eto namang Michael, na-flattered."
Gina's marriage to Michael at that time was already in bad shape. The couple had already had a series of split-ups, and always, the root cause was said to be Michael's alleged chronic womanizing. The feisty Gina, it was also said, would always get on Michael's nerve. But somehow, the couple always managed to get back together. That was until the alleged Krista controversy came along.
"'Yon na ang last straw talaga," said a friend of Gina's.
When the Gina-Michael union finally collapsed following the controversy, showbiz did the math and concluded the rumors of a Krista-Michael romance must have been true.
"Ang pinaka-devastated noon, si Geoff at si AJ [Eigenmann]," said a close friend of Gina's. Geoff, the leading man in the recently concluded telenovela Rosalinda, is the youngest child of Gina and Michael. AJ, now pursuing veterinary medicine in Las Vegas, is the middle child.
Said Gina's friend: "Kasi si Geoff ang bunso, siya 'yong nakaka-witness ng pag-aaway ng mom and dad niya. Si AJ naman, na-depress, kasi nililigawan niya si Krista at that time. Hindi niya alam, ang daddy pala niya at si Krista na."
(Incidentally, Michael's nephew, Gabby Eigenmann, son of Mark Gil, was Krista's first boyfriend. She was still in high school then at Poveda. Gabby, who lived in the same neighborhood where the Ranillos used to live, told us she broke up with him because her parents thought that Krista was losing focus on her studies because of him.)
The Krista-Michael-Gina controversy eventually died down. Michael and Gina's marriage got annulled, and Krista went on to focus on her career, which she temporarily abandoned to pursue a college degree. Along the way, she reportedly had relationships-all short-lived-with Mark Anthony Fernandez, Cogie Domingo, and even John Lloyd Cruz. TV-movie director Dominic Zapata was her last known relationship. It lasted eight years and almost reached the altar—until Krista "dropped him like a hot potato" recently, said a GMA-7 insider.
At least three sources confirmed to us that indeed Krista and Dominic were already planning for their wedding and had set it for April 2010. But in the course of the planning, something went wrong. People around them knew there was trouble when Krista stopped wearing the ring that Dominic had given her, allegedly replacing it with a more glittery kind.
When the Manny Pacquiao-Krista Ranillo rumor started circulating, Gina Alajar, who has a private account in the social-networking site Facebook, posted a shout out (defined in Internet lingo as a status update) that read: "If I am Jinkee Pacquiao, I will not give up Manny. Krista Ranillo is not at all worth it!"
The November 12 posted "shout out" was intended for reading by Gina's close circle of friends that are listed in her account, which she insists was "naka-private." In Facebook, you can choose the "private setting" so that you can limit the people you wish to have an exchange with. But being part of the complicated and hugely unlegislated body known as the World Wide Web, Facebook is not guaranteed foolproof. Besides, mouths talk, and talk spreads.
And spread it did.
Gina blamed the ABS-CBN talk show The Buzz for airing the content of her Facebook private account without asking her permission, thereby putting her in the crossfire. On the other hand, she earned the ire of the Ranillo clan, which, at press time, was demanding an apology from her, and studying the possibility of filing legal charges against her.
As impassioned in real life as she is onscreen, Gina is unfazed. "I'll stand by what I posted," she told the entertainment press during the press conference of her GMA-7 show Sana Ngayong Pasko last December 1, 2009. "Bakit ako mag-aapologize? For what? Wala akong kasalanan... I was only sympathizing with another woman who was in a situation like I was before, and who doesn't know whether the rumors were true or not. Just like I said before, I've been in that situation a lot of times, so I know how that feels."
The ace actress dropped a challenge: "Gusto nila ng korte, di, sige. Sa korte ko na lang sasabihin lahat-lahat... Invited kayong lahat!"
On December 2, 2009, the Philippine Entertainment Portal uploaded an exchange between PEP contributor Glen Sibonga and Gina Alajar. The exchange occurred the day before, at the press conference of GMA-7's Christmas serye Sana Ngayong Pasko.
Glen asked: "Napatawad mo na ba si Krista?"
Gina answered: "Paano mo patatawarin ang isang tao na hindi naman humihingi ng tawad sa iyo, di ba? Pero nandoon lang 'yon, unti-unting nakakalimutan 'yon. Hindi pala unti-unting nakakalimutan... It will always be nakaukit sa iyong isipan, di ba? Laging nandoon 'yon."
"MAMATAY KAYO SA INGGIT". Meanwhile, Jinkee seems to be shedding the martir image and getting to be as feisty as Gina. Jinkee says this is not the first time the Pacquiao marriage has been rocked by controversy, and admits that in the past she taunted Manny with threats.
"Sabi ko dati, 'Sige, pag gawin mo 'yan, gawin ko rin 'yan.' Nakakapagsalita din ako... Minsan, hindi mo naman maisip na masabi mo 'yon. Minsan, masakit nasabi mo 'yon, parang inaano mo siya. Pero ang babae, gano'n lang naman, hindi naman gagawin. Parang gano'n lang. Takutin mo lang."
If Pacquiao-circle insiders are to be believed, the troubled marriage almost came tumbling down in the wake of the Krista controversy. It's a good thing that somehow the "talk" that Jinkee wanted finally happened. With the public outpouring of Jinkee's pent-up emotions during the thanksgiving Mass in Las Vegas, Manny may have come to realize that he needed to face his marital problems head-on.
Jinkee says she and her husband managed to have a little talk in Los Angeles. But the heart-to-heart took place in Gensan.
"Every day naman kami magkasama, so lahat napag-uusapan," Jinkee says. "Kung anuman 'yong nakalimutang topic, pinag-uusapan namin. Kung anuman 'yong, ano, parang maiisip ko na puwede kong itanong, puwedeng pag-usapan, so pinag-uusapan."
She says the talk process was not a one-day thing. "Kahit gabi-gabi, ano. Sa gabi na magkasama kami, pinag-uusapan pa rin namin."
Jinkee thinks she was able to tell Manny everything she needed to say. "Pag ano 'yong gusto kong sabihin, sinasabi ko talaga. Pagalit or pahinahon, sinasabi ko naman."
Jinkee stops short of giving details of this talk process. However, she admits that their present marital problem isn't entirely Manny's fault.
"Meron din akong nagawa na bakit niya nagawa, ganyan," she explains vaguely. "Parang meron din akong mali. Hindi ko naman sinasabi na perfect, na perpekto ako, sa relationship namin. Meron din akong nagawa, kaya niya nagawa 'yon. May point na hindi kami masyado nagkaintindihan...
"Mayroon akong sarili kong reason kung bakit ko ginawa 'yong sinasabi ko na parang ni-let-go ko, parang hinayaan ko... Kahit na alam ko, hinayaan ko siya. Mayroon din siyang reason kung bakit niya ginawa, 'yon lang. Iyon lang 'yong dapat naming i-fix."
Looking back, Jinkee thinks things may have happened because she let things be.
"May time nga kasi na nagkatampuhan kami. Maliit na bagay lang na lumaki. Pataasan ng pride. Hindi kami nag-uusap. Minsan, text lang. So, pinapapunta naman niya ako doon sa Baguio... Sabi ko, ayoko. Ako 'yong may ayaw [umakyat]. Ayun, nagkaroon tuloy ng puwang iyong iba... Dati kasi, pag nandiyan ako, wala talaga [makapasok], e."
She killed him with her silence, she says. Manny hates being nagged, Pacquiao-insiders intimate, but he hated Jinkee's pitiful silence even more.
But Jinkee adds, with amazing candor, "Sabi ni Manny sa akin, ang puso ko raw, parang bato pag nagalit ako. Kaya ko daw ng ilang days, ilang buwan. Siya nga daw, apat na araw, hindi niya kaya. Sila [mga lalaki], di ba, pag may tinatanong sila, kailangan sagutin mo? Parang naloloka sila pag hindi mo sila kibuin. Hindi sila makatulog sa gabi kaya sila umaalis na lang, nag-iinom."
She now admits that if the "cold treatment" between them had lasted two more months, the marriage might have ended.
"Kung tumagal pa na hindi kami nakapag-usap, baka umabot na sa ganoon. Kaya minsan, lesson din iyan, e. Huwag mong hahayaan na maging matagal kung mag-aaway kayo. Mag-patch-up kayo nang maaga. Kasi maraming masasaktan. Baka pagsisihan n'yo pa kung ano mangyari."
Being a God-fearing woman, she muses, "Siguro hinayaan ng Diyos na mangyari, para madami ka pa ma-learn sa relationship, sa inyong marriage, ganyan. 'Tapos, mare-realize mo na, 'A, okey, ganito pala, gano'n pala 'yon?'"
Of the many things she and Manny cleared up between them, Jinkee says she never touched on her husband clearing Krista's name and issuing an apology to the Ranillo family on his return to the Philippines last November.
Both ABS-CBN and GMA-7 carried that Manny interview in their news programs, with Manny saying: "Matalik na magkaibigan talaga kami [ni Krista]... Pasensiya na at hindi ko naman ginusto na masira 'yong pamilya n'yo."
Jinkee says she understood that Manny had to do it.
"Ay, hindi ako nag-react. Para sa akin, noong narinig ko na nag-sorry... Nag-sorry kasi siya, kasi 'yong parang, siyempre, lalaki. Siya 'yong, kumbaga, may pamilya. Parang bakit niya grinab niya 'yong... Naging weakness din niya 'yong babae, parang gano'n 'yon. E, hindi niya naisip na may pamilya siya, may anak siya."
What's important to Jinkee now is that Manny has also apologized to her and that she has accepted his apology.
"Tinanggap ko 'yong issue ngayon. Ganoon ko siya kamahal. Hindi ka maka-move-on, wala kang peace, pagka hindi mo napatawad. Once na na-forgive mo 'yong isang tao, kailangan you forget everything, para totally maka-move-on ka."
The couple are now in the process of reconstructing their marriage. Thus, Jinkee says, Manny is once again the masuyo husband that he always is when he's not fooling around.
"Gaya ng ginagawa niya dati. Parang may effort na suyuin ka. Gano'n talaga, e. Gano'n ang buhay, e. Pag nagkamali ka, gano'n. At least alam na niya kung ano yong mga hindi dapat, at saka puwedeng gawin, na hindi ma-hurt 'yong wife niya.
"At least, alam niya na kung ano 'yong okey at saka hindi okey, para hindi kami mag-away o hindi kami magkatampuhan. At least, alam na namin ang mga differences, ganyan."
For her part, Jinkee is taking extra effort to win back her husband's full affection, giving total attention to the lessons she has picked up along the way.
"Kasi, siguro nagkulang ako sa pag-aasikaso," she admits. "At saka dati, medyo naging nagger ako... Parang di pa malawak ang isip ko na ganyan pala. Hindi ako malambing kasi, e. Inaamin ko naman na hindi ako malambing. Parang kung ako magsalita, para akong galit, ganyan. E, ayaw niya ng gano'n, e... Parang he needs love and attention. Gano'n talaga, e.
"So, bumabawi naman. Kung ano 'yong ginawa ko dati, parang dinodoble ko pa. Kasi parang 'yon ang weakness niya, e. 'Yong parang aalagaan siya, lalambingin siya. 'Yon ang weakness niya, e."
Love, as far as the Gensan household is concerned, is lovelier the nth time around.
"Parang gano'n na nga," she laughs. "Mamatay sila sa inggit. E, kasi, sino ba ang nakatatak sa braso [ni Manny]? Sige, tingnan mo kung ano'ng pangalan. O, parang gano'n."
And as if directing her statement to someone, she adds: "Hindi ka ba naaano? Dapat isipin mo na lang. At least, pag nakita niya dito [sa kaliwang braso ni Manny] buong family nandiyan [naka-tattoo]—parang makonsensiya ka na lang sa mga pangalan."
By all indications, Jinkee is ending her silence now. She seems to have come to the realization that she needs to fight for herself and for her children.
"Ipaglaban ko siya na hindi ko siya hinayaan na mapunta sa iba," she explains. "'Yong parang iniintindi ko sa pakikipaglaban ko, e, 'pinaglaban ko 'yong family-na sa amin siya. Kasi, di ba? Ten years na kami nagsama, so bakit ko hahayaang mapunta sa iba, na kaming dalawa naman ang nagbuo ng pamilya? Parang gano'n."
It seems that Jinkee and Manny have been able to arrive at a compromise in their married life.
"Sabi ko, kailangang isipin kung ano'ng tama para sa pamilya, para sa isa't isa. E, siya, madami din siyang mga ayaw na gusto kong gawin, so sabi ko give and take lang 'yan. Kung ano 'yong ayaw ko, huwag mong gawin. Kung ano'ng ayaw mo sa akin, di ko gagawin, para maging okey talaga 'yong relationship at saka maging buo ang family."
We're not the only ones seeing a more outspoken Jinkee of late. She thinks her husband sees it, too, but is trying to understand that she needs to be so.
"Lahat ng mga interviews ko, kahit sa ibang mga magazines, even dati na—wala, binabasa lang niya. 'Tapos, wala-hindi niya 'ko inaaway. 'Yon lang 'yong pagiging mabait niya. Hindi naman niya 'ko inaano.
"Pag sobra na 'yong sasabihin ko, sabihin na niya na parang hindi na dapat. E, kasi, minsan, 'yong sinasabi ko talaga, 'yon 'yong nasa loob ko, e. Hindi ako puwedeng makipag-plastic... Kung ano 'yong sasabihin ko, inimbento ko lang? Hindi ako gano'n kasi. Lahat, kung ano 'yong naramdaman ko, kung ano 'yong nangyayari, 'yon sinasabi ko."
In the end, Jinkee has nothing but forgiveness for the man she married. She also nurtures the hope in her heart that she herself will rise above it all soon enough.
"At the right time, magiging okey din naman, di ba?" she said."Hindi naman puwedeng every day 'yon lang ang laging isipin ko. Paano na 'ko? Paano ko magawa ang mga gusto kong gawin sa buhay ko, sa mga anak ko, kung 'yong isyu lang ang laging iisipin ko? Kung nagawa man niya [Manny] 'yon, hindi naman siya masamang tao talaga, e, di ba? Hindi naman siya sobrang masama na bakit niya ginawa? Tao lang din naman siya na nagkakamali, so kailangang patawarin."
Although she admits to being happier now that she and her husband have finally been able to settle the score, Jinkee knows that the storm in their lives is not completely gone.
At press time, Wapakman, Manny's movie with Krista, has yet to be shown. Jinkee knows that Manny and Krista will still see each other on the set—or out of it, somehow. What she wants from them, she stresses, is respect.
"Alam kong magkakasama pa rin sila [ni Krista]. Para sa akin, nasa kanila na 'yon, kung gusto nilang i-ano sila sa ibang tao. I leave everything to God. Siya na lang 'yong bahala sa lahat. Hindi ko naman alam kung mag-stop ito ngayon, or meron pa sila... Hindi ko alam. Ang buhay ng tao naman, kung ano ang di mo alam, Diyos lang ang may alam."
Jinkee may be wiser than even she knows. A reliable source from the Wapakman set says that he noted, on Krista's very first shooting day after her arrival from the States, her show of concern for Manny. She remained in her car, but a male companion went up to Manny and told the champ that Krista was asking if he had eaten, if he was hungry. According to the source, Manny had answered, "Okey lang ako. 'Wag kamo niya ako intindihin."
Moreover, Jinkee knows that Krista may not be the last typhoon to visit her territory.
"E, kasi, kahit na ako, di ko sinasabi [kay Manny] na, 'You have to stop na, wala na talaga.' Di ko naman masabi, kasi, di ba, marami siyang pinupuntahan, madami siyang nakikilala. So, sa kanya na lang 'yon. Konsensiya na lang niya 'yon, kumbaga.
"Di mo puwedeng i-dictate sa isang tao na huwag mong gawin 'yan. Dapat, taos sa sarili mo, ikaw 'yong gagawa. Puwede kang mag-stop, stop ka na. Pero kung ayaw mo, depende na sa 'yo. Ikaw na lang nakakaalam sa sarili mo."
But she says she has already given the Pambansang Kamao a piece of her mind.
"Sabi ko, 'Oy, idol ka ng mga tao. Kailangan, kung idol ka as a boxer sa buong mundo, as a person dapat idol ka pa rin. Hindi lang 'yong pagiging ano mo, champion ka dahil sa boxing, 'yon lang. Dapat 'yong buo mong pagkatao, e, i-idolize ka ng mga tao."
The last time we look, it is already Jinkee, not Krista, who is at Manny's side at all times. That feels just right. She belongs there.