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ADVOCACY MINDANOW: A Davoeña for Pres. Noynoy?

(This is a syndicated article by the author who is President-Chairman of the Philippine Press Institute and released by Advocacy MindaNow Foundation, Inc.)

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 11 Sept) – Ok folks, enough of the Napoles story for the moment!!

My radar had been picking up for sometime now some not-so-audible signals, about our bachelor PRESIDENT NOYNOY being, yet again, reportedly charmed. And lately by a pretty Davoeña lawyer working at the DILG in Manila. It was being whispered in hushed tones for a while among closest circles. Until I saw it on ABS-CBN’s TV Patrol and read a boxed article at the PHILIPPINE STAR a few days ago with a photo to spice it up. To be honest with you folks, it was only when the “tsismis” broke into the news that it caught my fancy.

Well, there’s only one lady lawyer from Davao I know at DILG who fits the description. Her name is MARINESS LEDESMA. Friends call her “KIM”. For those of you who have not seen this pretty Davoeña in person, that published picture flashed on TV and in the STAR, in my book, is definitely heading to the trash box. This is one case where we can use that oft-repeated line: “The photo does not do justice to the subject”. Evidently, that was a photo grab from a file video taken four years ago when the lady participated in a debate ran by ANC called CVC DEBATES in 2009. By the way, the Davao Ateneo Law team trounced the more touted Ateneo de Manila and the University of the Philippines debaters in those encounters. (Oooops sorry for bragging! I just can’t resist it!)

I recall an earlier chat featuring presidential sis Ms. BALSY on TV giving some early hints about brother President NOYNOY “looking inspired” by someone lately. Could she be referring to this same lady? I dunno!

Anyway, I’m now on a freewheeling chit-chat (call it “tsismis” if you wish) for a refreshing change from those other serious and sordid topics like surrenders, peace negotiations, and PDAF, and who-is-that-lady-again Ma’am Janet, etcetera.

Definitely I don’t have the permission of KIM herself and her family. So my apologies foremost to her father, my brother in the TAU MU Law school fraternity, NESTOR “Butch” LEDESMA, in intruding into their personal and private lives by writing briefly about them. But I’ll take my chance. Butch, by the way, was former Davao City Administrator during the mayorship of another frat brod, LAWYER BEN DE GUZMAN.

When I saw Butch on TV Patrol a few nights ago where he was briefly interviewed about the rumor, my instincts prompted me to text him : “I saw you on TV brod. Can I kol? Maki ‘tsismis’. hehe”. His instant and curt reply: “Sorry brod. No comment“. After the story broke on TV with a video clip showing Butch with lovely wife on his side giving a run-around answer, not knowing whether to answer or not the TV reporter’s question about the rumor, obviously Butch could not stand further scrutiny on something he said he does not know anything about – at that moment, at least. Or intruding into the personal affairs of daughter KIM. By now, I am sure he regretted even allowing the TV reporter to take that footage because the story will have a life of its own and that footage will keep coming back. Expect other TV channels to do their own chase.

I’ve been in this media business too long to anticipate that KIM, her family and friends, will be stalked, ambushed, trailed and hounded by reporters to get “human interest” angles. For sure we have an already scandal-tired public. A romance story, especially of a bachelor and very eligible head of state will surely eclipse all blaring headlines and again catch the fascination of everyone. So I suspect BUTCH had been advised by a close friend (was that you, Mayor Ben?) to cool it for a while and elude the media. I can only guess, but KIM must have protested this undue intrusion into her otherwise quiet and simple life. She is the “prim and proper type of a girl”, I was told. Whether these rumors are true or not, I can predict her total discomfort – if not subdued indignance – in being publicly mentioned this way.

Those who know KIM well told me she is someone whom one sits up and listens to when she makes a point on matters mundane or otherwise, has her own mind, brilliant and engaging but simple and demure in her own way.

The last time I saw her was at the airport several weeks ago with her father Butch on our way home to Davao. In fact, while we were collecting our checked-in luggage, I jokingly told Butch: “Why do you have such pretty daughter when you don’t look that good!” We had a good laugh together! Yes, KIM is a head turner.

Her former law professor (and my nephew) , ATTY. CEASAR “Jikjik” EUROPA for a while hesitated to even say something about his student KIM lest “awayin ako“. He finally revealed a few tidbits about her after my prodding but fearing that she would take offense on such disclosures. She was a topnotch student and has a small circle of equally talented close lady friends, mostly her sisters in the TAU MU SORORITY. Atty. JIKJIK simply recalled: “When she was my student in law school, all I can remember is that ‘mahirap hanapan nang mali sa exam’.” He even refused to confirm (again another tsismis) that an out-of-town official who appeared “bewitched” by her charm and beauty had been “stalking” her for some time. (I hope this disclosure should stop him!) But I am sure that is something KIM does not want to even talk about or even further mentioned here. So let it be.

Right after taking her oath as lawyer, she joined the Court of Appeals in Cebu City and then moved to Manila at the DOTC then under Secretary MAR ROXAS. Later she transferred to the DILG. Evidently Secretary Mar noticed her outstanding work – and charm? – and brought her with him when he took over DILG. Perhaps (and here I am guessing), it was while closely assisting Secretary Mar that our bachelor President must have spotted her. (I say again, I am just guessing, but who knows?)

Okay, okay. I’ll stop here lest KIM and father Butch will consider cutting our TAU MU fraternal ties for my undue intrusion into the personal. I have said more than enough. People may think I am “promoting” my sorority sister. (But of course, who does not want having an instant presidential frat brod by affinity? Hahaha! Wishful thinking.) But I do hope that after putting out in public a bit of those intimate information about KIM, that should now stop the snoopy and the prying media and everyone else to STOP on their tracks and respect her privacy.

Yes, I know how tempting it is, especially for our media colleagues to go into a mad scramble to squeeze dry this new storyline for public consumption. I am also tempted to do so, I confess. We are a tele-novela people. But we have seen how previous stories of presidential “interests” have been unduly milked to entertain a fascinated public. We all have also seen how those previous reported romances transitioned into “history“. Yes the President is a public figure. He is fair game. But what about the privacy of a private person like KIM? And after all of this dies down and while President Noynoy nonchalantly moves on to another presidential flirtation, she becomes part of the statistics. As what happened to those in past stories. I can exactly predict that after this flurry of stories about her, life will never be the same for her again.

KIM is someone I was told would not relish this and does not deserve to be branded a “has been” of a presidential interest after the smoke clears. Other celebrities may relish or benefit from this but definitely not her. So, let’s leave her alone please. And wait for the next and another presidential “romance” story to surface and again catch our fancy.

No doubt, in this frenetic times of bad stories and scandals, we badly need another one of those presidential dalliances to keep us entertained. And yes, who knows, President NOYNOY may really be on a serious search by now for a life-time lady love. It’s about time, if you ask me. But that’s none of my doggone business some may say.

But for once, shall we all BACK OFF PLEASE and leave them BOTH alone, okay?

(Lawyer Jesus G. Dureza was government peace panel chair in the negotiations with the MILF under the Arroyo administration from 2001 to 2003 and was later named Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (2005 to 2008). He heads Advocacy MindaNOW Foundation, Inc. and was recently named publisher of the Davao City-based Mindanao Times.)

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