Divinely inspired

Who says history can only be written by the victor? It can be rewritten by his girlfriend, too.

As in the case of Divine Lee, former vice president for marketing of Globe Asiatique, who, when things have turned sour for the property development firm, now says she never had anything to do with the business.

I’m not part of the team. I don’t know anything (about the business and the estafa case her dad is now facing). Ako ang unang maba-bash kasi ako ang nasa harap,” the model-turned-TV host opened up.

So she has resigned herself to the fact that “at a certain point, you just realize people don’t understand.”

Divine adds that she’s helpless against the bashing.

“Wala akong magagawa if they’re bashing me because of my Dad. People will crucify me because of my last name. I guess I have to deal with then. And I can’t stop working. I have to earn a living.”

That living is apparently now earned by hosting a show on TV5, which means she is in the realm of the entertainment press.

Now, entertainment reporting goes by different rules: stars are not required by law to be truthful (unlike, say, politicians, who might get in hot water when their lies are found out) and their studios often make sure all press conferences are carefully managed. A press conference for a paracetamol-shilling matinee idol, for example, was suddenly cut short when someone rudely asked about something that was not on the agenda like a recent breakup with another celebrity.

Breaking the rules set by PR handlers and studios could mean an indefinite ban from events and being cut off from the supply of envelopes filled with money for gas and coffee. To be fair, not all entertainment reporters play by those rules. Enough do, however, for that not to be a hasty generalization.

Being in the realm of the entertainment press, nobody would, of course, dare to press Ms. Lee about her actual involvement with GA.

But consider this excerpt from a 2010 interview on Cosmo:

You’re a model, an executive, a businesswoman, and a socialite; how do you manage to do all those things?

Well, I’m rarely home for one, and I’m not yet married, so I don’t have kids to attend to. So far, I’m managing it pretty well.
I work for GA [Globe Asiatique] in the morning; I check the sites. Then I do all my meetings in the afternoon, then, after that, at night,
it’s free time…

What keeps you going?

I like what I do, I guess. It’s the best thing. I don’t count the hours. I really enjoy everything, from retail, to the club we have with Tim [Yap], even real estate. For me, real estate is like a clothing brand. You see something from paper, you see it being produced, and the next thing you know, you see someone wearing it; in real estate’s case, living there. It’s fun.

Granted, that last bit about real estate being like a clothing brand does bolster the contention that she knows nothing about the business.

Also, this picture.

More here though:

What kind of Philippines would you like to build?

Number one, because I’m in housing–I don’t know if this is too technical–but we have a three million deficit in housing, and when we ask the government [why], it’s always about the people who are illegal, squatters–they don’t have proper housing. But what i want to focus on are those people who are actually working but cannot afford a home yet. So, my dream is, by area, maybe I can provide good housing in line with what we do My dad can build houses, then on the side, we can provide a certain percentage for people who can’t afford housing.

But how can you do that, Ms. Lee, when you have nothing at all to do with GA? Give the poor over-sized sweaters they can turn into tents, maybe?

But that’s Cosmo, you may say (and by doing so be doing the magazine a disservice), that’s just stuff for fluff!

All right, then, here’s something from the Philippine Star:

Divine Lee, Globe Asiatique vice president for sales and marketing, says both Xevera Bacolor and Xevera Mabalacat are the results of extensive consultations his [sic] father held with residents of the area.

“My dad has always been an idealist. All his buyers know him personally. He goes to the projects, he talks to them and asks what their concerns are,” she says.

But wait, there’s more! This time from the Inquirer:

Lee denied being an officer of the realty firm after buyers of GA Tower 2 units filed complaints with the Pag-Ibig Fund (or the Home Development Mutual Fund) accusing the company of “double-selling” their units at the Edsa condomium.

However, in a general information sheet at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Divine Lee was listed as the CEO of the GA Tower 2.

Lee was also named as one of directors and incorporators of the condominium in the documents submitted by the realty firm to the SEC on March 18, 2010.

Now, we’re not saying Divine Lee, or any of the Lees, is guilty of defrauding the country’s housing loan fund of billions of pesos. That’s for a court to decide, if at all. While the case was still developing, Ms. Lee declined commenting on its, saying the lawyers had told her not to speak. Which, because of sub judice and out of the presumption of innocence, we would have respected and still do.

To turn around completely and rewrite history when convenient, though, goes beyond that. She and her father were not estranged when it was convenient for GA to be a family company, but suddenly here comes a sob story about having to make it alone and, apparently, being shut out of the family corporation because that story sells better.

That Ms. Lee was kicked out of the house because of her modelling career might be true. But, surely, she and her family had mended fences by around 2009? Enough, at least, for her not to correct Cosmo when it said she and her dad were very close and all that stuff about working for GA.

Out Come The Wolves

The remains of Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, whose airplane crashed into the sea around Masbate island, and a state funeral is already being arranged. Retrieval operations for the downed Piper Seneca are ongoing but the bodies of Robredo and his two pilots Jessup Bahinting and Kshitiz Chand have either been found or retrieved.

The drama around the crash is done and what’s left is to deal with the loss. Which means, of course, that out come the wolves, if they aren’t already. Expect wailing and hair-pulling about the state of aviation in the Philippines. There will also be much hand-washing on why Robredo’s appointment as Local Government secretary was never confirmed by the Commission on Appointments.
In fact, it has started already:

(Camarines Sur Rep. Luis, Sr., who allegedly blocked Robredo’s confirmation,) Villafuerte said Robredo’s death should not be sullied with finger-pointing. Earlier reports said Villafuerte had a falling-out with his nephew and had even fielded his own sister against Robredo in the 1992 mayoral elections in Naga City.

“In this time, dapat sana these are moments of prayer and grief and remembrance. Lahat ng mabubuting ginawa niya yun na lang ang alalahanin. Kalimutan na natin ang mga kakulangan niya dahil bigyan na lang natin siya ng tribute at commendation,” he said.

Other politicians not directly involved also found ways to insert themselves into the narrative, like so:

Lacson revealed yesterday that Robredo had been “quietly helping” him find a way to resurface without having to be put behind bars in connection with the Dacer-Corbito double murder case.

“I will always remember and be thankful to Secretary Jesse Robredo for personally albeit quietly helping me during my difficult time while in hiding,” Lacson said in a text message to the Manila Bulletin.

Comments circulating on the Internet even before the bodies were found criticized President Benigno Aquino III for taking a hands-on approach to the search and rescue operations for his friend, party mate, and member of his Cabinet. They also criticized the impressive array of assets mobilized for the operations. There was just too much fuss for a handful of people, they said, in a plea to common sense that the opposition may pick up soon.

Ang daming nalunod sa baha ni maayos na paglipatan wala tau maibigay. iisang tao lng nawawala buong navy at airforce pa mobilize ng pangulo.. noynoying

Like so.

This is, of course, valid in the sense that all opinions are, in a sense, valid. This is also rather stupid.

One has to wonder, for example, what the BRP Simeon Castro (PG-374) and Diesel Fastcraft-339, two of many boats deployed to Masbate, could have done in the face of the widespread flooding that drowned parts of Luzon earlier this month. Fire their machine guns in futile frustration, possibly.

Would deep-sea divers have been of much use during the floods? Would motorized bancas based in Masbate?

Critics have to realize, too, that the units deployed to look for Robredo and the pilots came from nearby Coast Guard stations and would not have been of much help to flood and landslide victims in Metro Manila, Central, and Southern Luzon anyway.

It isn’t like the government didn’t do anything during the floods, either.  The President was also around then, distributing relief goods, and attracting criticism for early campaigning.