Divine clueless where dad is?

Posted at 09/07/12 12:55 PM

Divine Lee, the socialite daughter of fugitive real estate developer Delfin Lee, is the CEO and a board director of the Globe Asiatique Tower 2 Condominium in Mandaluyong City…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…

…The complaints said that based on the incorporation papers that the firm submitted to the SEC, Lee as an officer of the condominium corporation was responsible for the management and operations of the building…

— News item in Philippine Daily Inquirer, Aug. 30, 2012

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A lawyer representing Globe Asiatique Realty Holdings Corp. criticized yesterday attempts to drag the name of GA owner Delfin Lee’s daughter, Divine, saying she has nothing to do with the estafa case involving GA.

In an ABS-CBN talk show, Willy Rivera said Divine did not play a role in the management of the holding firm but is instead an officer of the GA Tower 2 Corp., which manages the condominium for the unit owners…

— News item in The Philippine STAR, Sept. 5, 2012

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Since the Globe Asiatique case hit the headlines, the name Divine Lee has become a household name mentioned with an unflattering tone. Some people thought that Divine should have the decency to keep a low profile instead of being so disturbingly visible, thus calling attention to her father’s case when she should help in playing it down. Does she have to flaunt her lavish lifestyle (branded things and all) while the poor victims (one of them as friend of mine) of the alleged “scam” are desperately crying for justice?

Honestly, I had that kind of impression of the girl. Then I met her at a mini-presscon organized by her handler ALV Talent Agency (headed by Arnold Vegafria) and, again honestly, I found her to be harmless, not at all snooty like most of those in her social level, quite friendly and, true to her education (Assumption Convent, Brent International School, Ateneo de Manila University, Thames International Business School and Asian Institute of Management), quite articulate and, contrary to how she’s pictured in the tabs, makes a lot of sense.

It’s up to you to draw your own impressions from my Q&A with her:

Are you the only daughter, the apple of the eyes of your father?


How many siblings do you have?

“Hmmmm. No comment.” (From a Funfare DPA: She has several siblings from her father’s “few other families.”)

Does your father play favorites?

“Maybe he does. But usually, among the Chinese, usually the favorites are more the sons than the daughters, di ba? So I guess his favorite is the eldest.” (Is she referring to her half-brother Dexter, said to be a corporate secretary of the company in question, also accused in the same case and also missing?)

What’s the best thing that you can say about your dad?

“He’s really a good father even if we are in a non-traditional family set-up. Even if we (tunay na magkakapatid) didn’t live with him, he really took good care of us.”

Are you close to your half-siblings?

“Only to the ‘full’ ones, ‘yung sa side ng mommy namin. I have a sister who is going into showbiz soon.”

You are criticized for being so visible, never mind if people are suspecting that you’re making some damage control by giving away relief goods to flood victims, and it makes people so uneasy, with eyebrows soaring.

“Uhm, it’s because I do a show about make-over and Ang Latest (the TV5 showbiz talk show). And, you know, social media makes everyone so visible — Twitter, Facebook, the blog. Kaya kahit hindi na ako lumalabas mukhang maingay pa rin ako. I never thought I would enjoy TV work until I was given a chance.”

When was the last time you talked to your dad?

“Matagal na…even before the issue came out.”

How does the issue affect you?

“Of course, it does. Siempre, ako ang naba-bash because I’m the one in front of the camera.”

People (this one included) are turned off by your display of wealth. Very shameless (daw).

“Akala lang nila I bought all those things. Actually, galing sa sponsors lahat ‘yon. Some people kasi don’t understand what a model is. Like if I have to pose something in the blog, it’s because I have to pose it, sponsor nga kasi, eh. Like halimbawa, clothes by Rajo Laurel. Rajo will feel bad naman if I don’t credit him, di ba? Then, I get bashed. Masakit siempre, tao rin naman ako; it’s sad, but what can I do? I think people are crucifying me because of my surname. I don’t know these people, I’ve never met them. This is the time when it’s easier to judge me than to understand me. So I do na lang my own thing because I also have to earn a living.”

Is it true that you are supporting Victor Basa, your model-boyfriend?

“Hahahaha! Okay, let me make that clear. I’m glad that you ask me that. No. 1, I’m not that rich to be able to support Victor; and No. 2, Victor has his own money.”

Who has more money, you or Victor?

“Si Victor because his family has just won a case. Oops! Sorry, I’m not supposed to mention that…”

When you are in public, do you feel that people are looking at you with disgust?

“Because of the issue? Yes, I think yes. But you know, your life doesn’t stop because of that. Like everybody else, I still have to go to the grocery, I still have to go to the palengke, you know. I think people are judging me from how I am pictured to be and not what I really am as a person.”

Don’t you really have any idea where your dad is?

“Kung alam ko lang, di ba…”

Any message for your dad?

“There are many questions for which I am also looking for answers. My dad and I don’t have the same religion, he’s Buddhist and I’m Catholic, sana he will continue to pray. At sana, I hope, sana ay maayos na ang lahat.”

And, if I may add, that justice be served — soon! — to the victims of what Divine Lee prefers to call “the issue.”

(E-mail reactions at [email protected] You may also send your questions to [email protected] For more updates, photos and videos visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on www.twitter/therealrickylo.)