"Mukhang nauto yata tayo" - Cecilia Basa
(Editor's intro: Raissa, foreign correspondent for South China Morning Post and Radio Netherlands, is an independent blogger.)
It was a moment that warmed the heart of a nation and left it teary-eyed: the sight of Cristina Corona hugging her long-estranged Basa cousins on national TV last Friday, while Cristina’s husband Renato sat on the dock being tried on a charge that could lead to his disgrace and dismissal.
UPDATE: TV drama scriptwriter Baby Nebrida replied to this story at 2:00 a.m. Without contesting the version given to me by the Basas in the article, Nebrida said I have “polluted the minds of the public” and I’m “a poor role model” to the youth. You can find her full reply in Comment #73.
I asked a Basa relative to tell me more about their dramatic reconciliation. I was rather taken aback by the blunt answer I got: “There was no apology (from Cristina), just small talk and hug-hug.” The version of events I was told differed in some vital parts to what Cristina’s friend Baby Nebrida told ANC TV.
In this piece, I will put side by side Beby Nebrida’s version of the reconciliation and the version of the Basa relatives, as told to me in several exclusive interviews.
One Basa relative just told me today:
If the reconciliation was a ploy on Cristina’s end and we fell for it hook line and sinker, on our end we were sincere.
I decided to come out with this piece after the Basa version was confirmed today in the form of a statement released to a national daily by the main actors in that telegenic reconciliation – namely, Ana, Carmen, Isabel, Francesca and Eric Basa.
The five Basa siblings had issued a statement to the Philippine Daily Inquirer saying that despite the reconciliation,
There are still fundamental differences that have to be addressed, including the damaging statements, falsehoods and accusations against our family, the probate of our Lola Charing (Rosario Basa), court convictions, BGEI stock and financial issues, and, most especially, clearing the tarnished good name of our father, Jose Maria Basa III. The truth must be made evident.
This will be a long journey of healing and reconciliation. It will take time and it may be a painful process for all involved in light of the 30 years of pain preceding it.
Before I go on, I would like to put the reconciliation in context and try to explain why the Basa siblings had issued such a statement to Inquirer after such a momentous group hug.
It now appears that Cristina Corona approached the Basas last Friday, not to say sorry to them, but in order to forgive them for the wrongs they had done to her.
Did you get that? The Coronas were FORGIVING the Basas.
While the Basas, on their part, were expecting an apology from Cristina Corona. As one Basa relative told me:
She (Cristina) just made small talk. She said (to one cousin) – You’re the favorite of lolo. And, how was your trip. There was no invitation (to meet) after. No – let’s talk tomorrow, give me your cellphone. Wala. There was no apology.
Cristina was also persuaded to approach the Basas by her friend Baby Nebrida, who helped engineer the entire episode. Nebrida told ANC TV afterward:
I told Tina, I know it’s painful, very painful, but offer it for the acquittal of the Chief Justice.
How else can you interpret this statement? It seems Cristina went along with the reconciliation in order to help save her husband from conviction.