Eminence Gris

He returned quietly but triumphantly to Manila in 1998 after almost twenty years of an immensely successful self-exile in the United States.  In that span of time, he had become inexplicably, enormously rich in the information technology and telecommunications sectors in the southern United States and in South America.  And it was this great wealth that immediately established him in Manila as a person of great political influence.

Manila buzzed excitedly about this new arrival.  Everyone was fascinated by how terribly rich he was.  He casually purchased a Php 250 million mansion, a onetime presidential property, in the city’s poshest enclave.  To furnish it, he and his wife were referred by none other than the President of the Republic to the favorite antique shop of Manila high society, which was owned by the President’s very good friend — an enormously successful and feisty lady entrepreneur who shared the President’s taste for frank bar room-brawl conversation and bawdy, earthy humor [ but she was not a mistress of his ].  There they chose “interesting furniture” and ran up a bill of Php 20 million in just four hours.  The bill was promptly settled in cold cash.  In $$$ USD dollars even.  The lady who owned the antique shop — a dear friend of mine — was absolutely ecstatic over the single fastest and biggest sale she had made in her entire 40 year career.  Even the former First Lady had never made that incredible a single purchase, nor were her bills settled that fast and in cash.  He and his wife also sauntered leisurely to a decorative arts center and purchased the biggest Baccarat crystal chandeliers available, to the tune of Php millions as well.

I wasn’t surprised at all.  I knew him from some twenty years back.  He was my brother’s good friend at that time.  He was a rapidly rising wheeler dealer in all sorts of lucrative contracts and transactions.  He dealt with government bureaucrats, army generals, even leftists… in short, with anybody who could make a big deal.  Even then — dark, rough, and gruff as he was — he was already the self-made tycoon material.  One already knew that the man would eventually amass a great fortune in the swashbuckling style of Nathan Mayer Rothschild, Aristotle Onassis, and Adnan Khashoggi.

He had already separated from his meek and submissive first wife by then.  He had fallen in love madly with the young and very pretty, 18 year old best friend of my 18 year old sister-in-law.  But the young and very pretty girl’s mother was a fierce Capampangan lady who would not allow Him twenty meters near her precious daughter.  The fierce Capampangan lady was an avid “mah-jong” player, so he, my brother, and his wife nicknamed her “Kang!”…

Almost everyday, he came to have lunch at our house to be with his young and very pretty girlfriend, who was whisked there by my brother and his wife, who was her best friend.  They were actually strategy sessions to find a way to escape the clutches of “Kang!” so that the couple could finally be together.

And escape from “Kang!” they did.  In almost fairy tale fashion.  One late evening, the young and very pretty girlfriend tied her blankets together and slid down from the second floor balcony of her house to her waiting Prince Charming, who was as dark as the darkness that concealed him.  “Kang!” was expectedly furious when she found out the morning after, but she could not do anything anymore…

Everything would have been fine had he not run against some powerful officials in the military.  All of a sudden, he had to leave the country at once.

In the rush to leave, he left my brother with a shoebox containing two million pesos [ this was 1979 ].  My brother eventually found a way to send it to him.

He found himself in the United States of America where he made the truly enormous fortune that he had always dreamed of.  And the rest, as they say, is history…

Even “Kang!”.


  1. cousin paz said,

    April 16, 2007 at 3:18 am

    And isn’t EG’s son marrying the daughter of Albert*to Lop*z soon?

  2. cousin paz said,

    April 16, 2007 at 3:17 am

    Hi Toto,

    Is “Kang” the mother of the woman who has now gone public to talk about “Eminence Gris” alleged wife-beating? They have been together for 30 years according to her. And since EG’s arrival from the US recently as a “changed/reformed” man, wife says he has been acting weirdly, even writing his own Bible! Oh my gosh… he is giving the “Dating Da*n guy” a run for his money!


  3. January 20, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    Perhaps. Apo and M*rio Cr*spo know where the money is. That and they NEVER EVER EVER EVER talk.

  4. December 28, 2006 at 9:43 am

    myles g.:

    How “au courante” you are!!! Considering that you are all the way in San Francisco… !!!

    Toto Gonzalez

  5. myles g. said,

    December 27, 2006 at 11:58 pm

    well, m. cr*spo/m. j*menez served out his prison term in Miami and has already returned to Manila, hasn’t he? Ready to run for mayor of Manila?

  6. December 3, 2006 at 5:44 am


    Apologies for the *. They prevent the various search engines from quoting and misquoting me.

    Toto Gonzalez

  7. December 2, 2006 at 6:37 pm


    He is certainly a most incredible man, in all the good and bad senses of the word.

    His swashbuckling ways — even in gaol — impress me no end.

    Don’t you think He and “Apo Lakay” would have gotten along so well???

    Toto Gonzalez

  8. fvfv said,

    December 2, 2006 at 3:53 pm

    M*rio Cr*spo? or I think he goes by M*rk J*menez now. He is a very favored supplier of computers and “other” cargamentos from Colombia, Uruguay, Peru, Ecuador and Panama.
    He is worth just below 800 million now. Used to be more. American currency of course. That is what I hear from the Cayman wire transfer circles and in the Las Olas finance hub of Fort Lauderdale.

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