But first let me greet Cleng and Karmina. Nope, not Carmina who married the pre-Bebe Gandanghari Rustom Padilla, but Karmina Krenz Fagaragan Undonero who works at the Communication and Media Office of the Ilocos Norte Capitol. She and my dear kumare Clenntroy “Cleng” Guzman Magbual, also from the same office, are among the new breed of government employees striving to make a difference in the service. Efficient, hardworking, honest, and committed, these two women, only in their early twenties, show that there is a bright future for the bureaucracy if we get the right people and provide them with appropriate training.
Now let’s talk about Piolo who continues to trend in social networking sites after her ex-girlfriend KC Concepcion, in an interview with fellow kalbo Boy Abunda, talked about their breakup. Her words were controlled and tempered but they revealed meanings even the dumbest of human beings could get. Facebook and Twitter users made explicit what KC didn’t on national TV: Piolo “Peejay/Papa P” Pascual, Philippines’ phenomenal male heartthrob, is gay.
I should be saying it’s not an issue and that we should leave the man alone. But no, it is an issue, not only because Piolo is a celebrity and thus a public property, but because the beefcake himself made it a sizzling issue.
A few years ago, Piolo Pascual and Sam Milby missed a shot at greatness when they sued Lolit Solis for libel when she insinuated in her column that the two may be lovers. The hunky actors went ballistic over Solis when they could have simply said, “we would not mind being gay, but just that we are not.” Piolo and Sam denounced Solis’ insinuations as if being gay debases human dignity. That incident defined for me how Piolo views homosexuality—that it is shameful, dishonorable, malicious.
The issue of Piolo’s homosexuality died down in recent years, although there are occasional write-ups and blind items about his alleged trysts with actors like Yul Servo, now a Manila councilor, and crooner Mark Bautista who is believed to be the third party in the Piolo-KC romance. But the stir created by the girl’s subtle revelations, I am sure, would leave a permanent dent on Piolo’s persona. To the uninitiated, the next paragraph sums up the megadaughter’s tearful discourse.
“May mga hinahanap ako na napaka-basic lang na hanapin ng isang babae sa isang boyfriend, sa isang lalaki. Ayaw ko na siguro pumunta sa details kasi parang ayaw kong siraan siya… Let’s just say na lahat talaga kaya ko… Kahit may mga times na hindi ko siya maintindihan, tinanggap ko kasi ang sinasabi sa akin ng mga kaibigan namin na personality niya yun… Kasalanan ko ito kasi pinaglaban ko pa eh. Ginusto ko eh. At saka sobra sobra talaga akong nagtiwala sobra… Parang masyado akong nagbigay ng benefit of the doubt sa lahat… Masakit mang sabihin, hindi ako yung…siguro nag-fail din ako, dahil hindi ako yung kailangan niya sa buhay niya or hindi ako yung hinahanap niya sa buhay niya. And hindi ko mabigay sa kanya yung kailangan niya…”
The real issue here, dear karikna, is not really that a woman would fall in love with a gay man or that a gay man would fall in love with a woman, for we know of many straight-gay relationships that actually work. I have gayer-than-gay friends, back in college and now, who currently live blissful marital lives, and most of them even sired children more than a straight guy would actually father. The issue here, simply put, is Piolo’s deceit.
Gay men have their fare share in the women market. Some girls—tired with the usual boys who could only talk about cars, basketball, and computer games—would fall, in the purest sense of love, even with drag queens who make them feel happy in more ways than sex. These girls fall for homosexual men as the former rightfully see past the gayness and through the wonderful human being brimming with love.
But what love can Piolo give if he cannot even love himself enough by showing his real self to his girlfriend? We are not saying he should do a Bebe Gandanghari, wear a gown, and make many of us cry, though we must fully respect that should he decide to do so. We say that Papa P should at least try not to be contempt of himself, and, in effect, he being a public figure looking at homosexuality as something shameful, be in contempt against all his kapatid. While I do not believe in forcing people out of the closet, for a flower must bloom in its own sweet time, I say this is the best time for Piolo to liberate himself and inspire many others to get out of the dark.
Some years ago, noted literary critic Isagani R. Cruz insinuated in an essay (Bakla ba si Rizal?) that our national hero may be homosexual, to which gay activist J. Neal Garcia wrote a powerful reaction. Applying it in Piolo’s case, Garcia’s point goes this way: In pondering the mystery of whether our nation’s greatest actor was a bakla or not, we have discovered the truth, not so much about Piolo, as ourselves. And what truth is this? It’s simply that we cannot be said to be accepting of the bakla in our midst to the degree that we cannot begin to accept the possibility that someone we have been taught to admire from as early as we can remember, could have been such an awful, awful thing.
But I beg to disagree. Many look at Piolo today with ridicule and disdain not really because he is gay—for in this age of Vice Ganda, being gay has suddenly become cool—but because he chooses to be, and sadly so–not an emancipated human being–but an awful, awful thing.