It started with a Twitter message that fanned a social media debate about the merits of partying while 20,000 families scrambled to find missing kin, food, water and shelter.
Journalist Marlon Ramos tweets about @v_concepcion's glee at Malacanang party Dec 18
After hours of confusion and indignation, denials and deleted tweets, actress Valerie Concepcion has come out with a new message. She confirms performing at a Malacañang party in the presence of President Benigno Aquino III.
Concepcion also appeals to Filipinos not to judge the President.
“I just want to clarify that I was invited to perform at Malacañang’s Christmas Party for their employees with their husbands/wives and kids. Yes, the president attended the gathering. I do not see anything wrong with that since its his obligation and responsibility being the head of Malacañang to be present and show his support for his hardworking employees and their respective families. But I believe that it doesn’t mean that the president is not thinking of ways to help our kababayan(s) in Mindanao. It doesn’t mean that the president is disregarding the plight of our fellow Filipinos. Let’s not be too quick to judge”
The second part of her message apologized for sounding “insensitive”. Concepcion said:
“But if I, in any way, offended you guys and sounded insensitive, I am very sorry. It wasn’t my intention to do either. I can’t imagine how difficult life is for the people affected in Mindanao and how difficult it is to be the president of the Philippines at this moment. Once again, I am very sorry for all those people I have offended. May God bless us all.” (Itals mine)
The thing is, Concepcion doesn’t need to apologize. She is an entertainer. She was earning her living. Any performer would be darn pleased to have the President of the Republic chortling at her wit. Concepcion wasn’t the only performer. The singer, Jessa, was with her.
The debate centered on two things: First, was it right for President Aquino to party on a day of collective keening and wailing and gnashing of teeth?
By the time the party was underway, the Philippine Red Cross had reported that close to 600 had died from Typhoon Sendong.