Last December 21, talent manager and celebrity mom Annabelle Rama lost over P800,000 in cash and checks to still unidentified armed men.
Annabelle withdrew the money from a Metrobank branch in Libis, then instructed her secretary Lisa and driver Alvin to deliver the money to her office in Greenhills. The cash and checks were the salaries for her "alagas" since it was payday and she wanted it done and accounted for before the day was over.
As it turned out, 1 p.m. would be an unlucky time for her that day. Carrying the money, Alvin and Lisa then proceeded to their destination. Fate, however, decided that the money wouldn't leave Libis.
As the SUV approached a U-turn near a Shopwise branch, two unidentified men approached and pointed their sidearms at them. Helpless, Alvin and Lisa said they had no choice but to give up everything, except the car.
When Annabelle was informed of the news, they went straight to Camp Karingal in Quezon City to report the crime. But to the surprise of Alvin and Lisa, they too were included on the suspect list.
Why exactly would Annabelle suspect her driver and secretary?
"Wala namang magnanakaw o manlolokong aamin, " an upset Anabelle said in an interview with The Buzz. "Kasi ang duda ko, e, magkasabwat sila. Hindi ako naniniwala sa sinasabi niya [Lisa] sa akin. Matrapik, sobrang trapik daw. Basta malabo lahat ang kuwento. Sabi ko, bakit binuksan ang kotse? Sabi daw kasi ng mga holdaper na, ‘Pera! Pera!' E, bakit ang bag niya ang ibinigay, bakit pati envelope, e, ibinigay niya? Puwera sa bag niya, e, hindi kasya ang pera kaya sa envelope inilagay ang iba. Papaano malalaman ng holdaper na ang pera ay nasa envelope?"
Alvin denied his employer's accusation and called out to her, saying, "Sana magtiwala sa akin si Ma'am [Annabelle]. Wala akong ginagawang masama. Nagsasabi ako ng totoo."
On a calmer tone, Annabelle replied, "Sabi ko umamin na siya [Lisa], at patatawarin ko siya. Pati yung driver patatawarin ko sila."
That said, Annabelle had Alvin detained.
Last night, December 22, Annabelle and her driver Alvin came face to face again in an exclusive The Buzz feature. The Hall of Justice in Quezon City became the stage of the emotional encounter between the two as Alvin went on his knees to plead with Anabelle to hear him out.
Possibly moved by Alvin's plea, Annabelle decided to let her driver go free. But she would still have her secretary and driver thoroughly investigated. What influenced her to go soft was her family—son Richard Gutierrez, daughter Ruffa Gutierrez, and husband Eddie Gutierrez.
Anabelle said, "Ang decision ko, e, i-base ko doon sa sinabi niya na na-holdap talaga sila. Dahil Pasko, may pamilya siya, patatawarin ko siya ngayon. Hindi ko iaatras ang case, pero ayoko siyang makulong ng habang buhay. Kawawa naman."