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Friday, April 19, 2013

Why Janine Struck A Nerve

As a self-avowed liberal, I am often met with the preconceived notion that what liberals want is "to do anything, with anyone, at any place, and at any time." (Let me nip this is the bud by saying that it is a patently untrue statement.) So when current Ms. Universe 1st Runner-Up Janine Tugonon announced that she had broken up with her partner Jaypee Santos on Kris Aquino's show KrisTV, on account of the lead singer for the band The Script, someone sent me a message about it.

(Courtesy of

"So, I'm assuming you agree with her, right? I mean, you support divorce, and if Janine doesn't "feel" the guy she is with, she should be allowed to change her mind, right? She has the inherent right to get out of a relationship and pursue another one."

This post is meant both as a reply to it, as well as tell the sender why that is the incorrect application of liberalism.

On the surface, I agree that no one should be forced to do anything. So, in that respect - and only in that respect, a question of free will - no one should be forced to act, as they say in legal circles, under duress, or with virtually a gun pointed at you. This does not mean I agree or condone what Janine has publicized on national TV, and with her now-ex Jaypee standing beside her yet.

Just because I support divorce does not mean I support breaking up a relationship because the option to legally do so is there. This is where the concept of free will intertwines with the law - a legal way for a person to get out of a legal contract when the marriage becomes forced. In that respect, my partner and I - who will be celebrating our 16th year together next week, and legally barred from the joys of marriage - have come to the conclusion that we may have the better arrangement in substance.

We are together because we want to, and not because a piece of paper says we have to be in a union until death.

You may argue that Janine was in a similar boat, a relationship that was not legally binding, and was thus free to leave it when one feels "it isn't working." Listening to Jaypee in that interview, however, gives a clearer picture of what transpired, and why it struck a nerve.

As both of them recounted it, it was Janine who requested to meet with The Script, and owing to her beauty title, she knew the people behind the concert of the band and used it to wangle a face-to-face. The lead singer asked her point blank if she had a boyfriend, to which she answered in the positive. He then asked her to "follow" her at Twitter and he would reciprocate. It then evolved to private messages, which Jaypee expressed apprehension over and asked her to desist. (Obviously she didn't.)

(Courtesy of

Janine defended herself by saying that it was the singer who first sent her a message, but Jaypee countered it with a statement (in the vernacular) that even Kris Aquino had no choice but to agree with: if you weren't interested in the first place, no matter how many messages he sent, you would not entertain them.

This is the dicey situation: Janine and Jaypee were together long before she won the beauty pageant. Had she not entered it and won, it's doubtful that she would have access to a backstage meeting with a band or lead singer just because she is a fan. I can't help but feel that her success as a beauty titlist has gone to her head: is this a case of "lumevel up" ( to use a colloquial expression), and thinking that she deserves someone "at par" with her?

This has nothing to do with what Janine's defenders are now saying: that the men can't take it when it is the woman doing the dumping, that the reactions to her are because she is a woman, and that this is a misogynistic attack. (If you want to talk about what's misogynist, look no further than the contest that gave Janine her title, one that equates a woman's worth with how she looks in a bikini and gown, and is given a numerical score for it.)

Far from it.

We aren't in relationships to wait it out until someone "better" comes along. It is never decent nor affirming when all it takes is a wink from the hottest guy/girl for us to tell our current partners "it isn't working." When parties get into a relationship, there is a corresponding emotional investment. Do we not get it? Feelings, emotions, time - these are not trifle concepts to be made light of, the way Britney Spears did with her now infamous 55-hour marriage. Or the way Kim Kardashian  made a reality show about her marriage, only to end in divorce a few weeks later.

They involve real people, with real emotions. The way that Jaypee was so easily discarded was quite unbecoming of someone who makes a living out of being called a "queen". Which brings me to my last point: you have to strip everything that reeks of artifice - the beauty title, the fame, the money, the connections - and ask yourself, "Without all these, is this person someone I want to be with?"

When we treat other people with decency and respect, only then can we be deemed regal.


  1. I completely agree with you bro,

    We are all entitled to a right to choose, we are given the free will to decide for ourselves but having a right also means having a responsibility

    You couldn't have put it any better.

  2. There us really nothing wrong with breaking up because you're in a confusing situation, but the wrongest part of it was not being sensitive to the partner and had the news on national tv.

    I can say Janine had all the reasons to, but it was a-not-so-human act. Really, poor guy.

    I wish Ms Tugonon had the respect for her ex boyfriend.

    In everything one does, responsibility and respect should be considered.