Jake Zyrus’ mom flares up on a Fil-Am woman

 Raquel Pempengco

by Boy Villasanta

BARANGAY MAGALLANES, Lopez, Quezon—This writer tagged along a Fil-Am woman to this remote community in this town recently because she wanted to see in person Raquel Pempengco, the mother of Jake Zyrus, the former Charice Pempengco.

Cleofe Rufo Osigan, who is a native of this town had already migrated to the United States for a long time and she missed as well the idyllic barrio when and where during her time there wasn’t easily accessible to Lopezenses and even to tourists and visitors of the place.

Rufo-Osigan isn’t a stranger to showbiz fixtures like the movie press because when movie writer Bong de Leon and the late entertainment columnist Alfie Lorenzo were regular guests at the Wea Records’ office in front of the Sta. Cruz Church, the two reporters would drop by a marine school in the vicinity where Rufo-Osigan was teaching.

When Sharon Cuneta staged a concert in LA in the 90s, de Leon and Lorenzo were part of the retinue of the Megastar and Cleofe would go and see the show and invited Bong and Alfie to her house. She would also tour the two veterans around the city.         

She was introduced to Raquel as a Fil-Am. In return, Pempengco offered us drinks, a choice of cold bottled water or sofdrinks.

We opted for a mineral water in plastic container so Virgie Ramos, Raquel’s storekeeper and sort of Girl Friday pulled out from the fridge two bottles of iced water and put them atop the glass panel while Cleofe was looking for a buy of a headband, one of the items Pempengco’s store was selling.

Coy Pempengco, the younger brother of Jake came out from the inside and sat near a table that also functioned as a cabinet and cashier.

After Rufo-Osigan had paid for her buy, she asked Raquel “why did you settle in a far away place like this one?”

She quickly followed it with a comment, “sana, magkasundo na kayo (I hope you already reconcile)” pertaining to the rift that has been tearing mother and son for almost three years now.

Without batting an eyelash, the lady Pempengco started to throw invectives generally to us yet particularly at Cleofe. “’Yan na nga ba ang sinasabi ko. Wala namang alam ang mga tao sa mga tunay na pangyayari pero ang dami-daming sinasabi (That’s what I am saying. People don’t know the background of things but they have the gall to comment and say a lot),” Raquel said angrily.

“Lahat naman ay tinanggap ko. Pati ‘yong una niyang girlfriend, tinanggap ko. Lahat ay tinanggap ko. Wala naman akong hindi tinatanggap pero ganito pa rin (I have accepted everything. Even her first girlfriend, I accepted her. Everything I accepted. I didn’t refuse anything),” she added.  

  “Kaya nga ba ayaw ko ng showbiz. Puro kaplastikan (That’s why I don’t like showbiz. Everyone is dishonest),” she opined bitterly.

Rufo-Osigan remained quiet but this writer blurted out: “Ba’t ka nagagalit? (Why are you mad?”) in a very friendly and light-hearted tone.

Afterwards, Raquel turned her back at us and went inside her house.

Cleofe was tongue-tied but later she unleashed her pent-up emotions.

“Maybe she’s hiding some things that is why she’s angry,” she said.

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