Karma Chameleon

Beware of Karma… for the sins of the parents will, indeed, be exacted from the children.

Some years ago, a prominent Manila family was embroiled in a very public inheritance dispute involving the estate of the deceased patriarch.  A spectacular intrafamily legal battle ensued which pitted the children against the matriarch, the matriarch against the children.  All of Social Manila — and otherwise — were hooked on the unraveling saga of one of their own…

For a disinterested outsider like me, it was nothing more than the usual Money War of Rich Filipino Families.  Ho-hum.  Until one hitherto boring afternoon when I spoke with one of their cousins, and another cousin, and another, and yet another.  A long and complex history was exposed.  The Story took on more comprehensible dimensions as well as fascinating origins…   

To the maternal relatives of the matriarch, the twists and turns of The Story were not entirely unexpected.  After all, there were debts — moral debts not necessarily monetary ones — to pay. 

The mother of the matriarch was a difficult woman.  She had been spoiled as a child.  When her widowed mother wanted to marry again [ to an American ], the latter, committing the biggest mistake of her life, placed all the properties in her daughter’s name; in effect, she put herself under the financial stewardship of her daughter.  Years passed and the daughter refused to support her mother, who was alone again.  Mother was reduced to wearing haphazardly mended, hand-me-down clothes which were little more than rags, living in the staff quarters, eating leftovers from the dining room with the staff in the kitchen, and begging for medicine money from embarrassed rich relative to the next embarrassed rich relative.  That, when she was once one of them. 

The Clan was appalled.  From then on, because of that particular case, not one member of the famous southern “hacendero” clan ever signed over properties to their children during their lifetimes. 

“Manang Conchita was their cousin.  That was why Tatay Ening, Tatay Nanding, Manang Vic, Manong Ed, Manang Lil, Manang Aida, and most, if not all, of their generation refused to sign over properties to their children during their lifetimes.  The Story traumatized them all.”  said one cousin who saw it all. 

Meanwhile, a middle daughter had been born to The Daughter.  But the fortune teller, whom The Daughter absolutely believed, foretold that the middle daughter would bring great misfortune upon the family.  According to another cousin:  “Her belief in the fortuneteller was greatly enforced as the man she married, an up-and-coming government official — I don’t know exactly what he was during the Quezon regime — was able to make just the ‘right investments’ to enhance his ‘portfolio.'”

The Daughter, quite unbelievably, left her middle daughter to the household staff to raise.  If the family is to be believed, the middle daughter was kept tied to a leash in the kitchen, like a dog, and fed her meals of leftovers on a dog dish — all her life.  Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how one looks at it, the middle daughter “conveniently” passed away in her early 20s. 

The Daughter, fittingly enough, suffered all kinds of terrible misfortunes throughout her life.  During her last years, she would beat her chest and ask aloud:  “What have I done to deserve this hell on earth???!!!”  Need she wonder…???

Moral of The Story, as always:  Do not do unto others what you do not want done to you.

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17 Comments

  1. Jules said,

    July 14, 2008 at 4:02 am

    Jules’ erratum:
    “abducted ka-familia lady journalist/correspondent/reporter…”

    XoXo

  2. Jules said,

    July 14, 2008 at 4:01 am

    “I remembered EK-I being interviewed
    by the ‘Ka-familia abducted lady reported,’
    I think it was in their/her Antipolo estate:
    Am I glad my family doesn’t have Php33-B to
    squabble about:

    Neither one of us can bring those worldly fortunes”

    Matthew 16:26 has this to say –
    For what profit has a man,
    if he gets all the world with the loss of his life?

    XoXo

  3. Garganta Inflamada said,

    July 12, 2008 at 6:59 am

    linksys,

    Actually, that’s not really a ‘blood’ relation aunt. The lady in question, if we are referring to the same lady, is an old, old friend of the family from old Manila days and when the I’s had neigboring houses in suburban Englewood, NJ, from the 70s. She is a very sweet and dear ‘tita’ to a lot of people.

    I’ve visited and stayed in said building. Almost got locked out once — but that’s another story for another day.

  4. July 11, 2008 at 11:51 pm

    This is why I find it a horror for a mother to name a daughter after her, like Beatriz M*randa-Zob*l and B*atriz Miranda Zob*l-Urq*ijo. It should skip a generation, like Vicente Rom*aldez and Vincent M*rcos.

  5. linksys said,

    July 8, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    one of the i******* based in nyc lives in a nondescript apartment building near columbus circle. her aunt also lives in the same building. one would not think of wealth when you see the building which resembles a typical upper west side ( 90’s ) high rise. the only luxury in this building is the doorman.

  6. LCIN said,

    July 7, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    Toto, have you read “Oedipus R*x, Oedipus R*y”?

    It’s all there 😉

  7. July 7, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Babblefish:

    The Daughter was E******’s mother, MLT-K.

    Toto Gonzalez

  8. Babblefish said,

    July 7, 2008 at 10:34 am

    Sounds like an Akira Kurosawa movie…

    I’m confused though, Toto. So The Daughter was E******? Or was The Daughter E*******’s mother?

  9. dasmakid said,

    July 7, 2008 at 8:20 am

    The sequestered company was cleaned out by the PCGG. Is this part of karma too?

  10. July 7, 2008 at 5:15 am

    talagang tsismoso:

    You’re brill. Really brill.

    Since you know the identities of the characters, and since it happened decades ago, then I don’t think you are the person I think you are…

    Cheers!!!

    Toto Gonzalez

  11. talagang tsismoso said,

    July 7, 2008 at 4:08 am

    the matriarch bought from a auction house in new york in the 1960’s a magnificent set of green emeralds that was called the vanderbilt emeralds plus they own a beautiful house in lake success long island NY.

  12. talagang tsismoso said,

    July 7, 2008 at 3:59 am

    The prominent Manila family that was embroiled in a very public inheritance dispute involving the estate of the deceased patriarch — a spectacular intrafamily legal battle which pitted the children against the matriarch, the matriarch against the children, was the I******* Family.

    the mother of the matriarch was M******* L**** T*****-K****
    the widowed mother was C******* L****-T*****
    the middle daughter was A****** K****

  13. eva said,

    July 7, 2008 at 1:03 am

    Why was there allegedly a rush to cremate the old man when he died in his estate in Batangas? Was there suspicion of foul play?

    Once I had the chance to minister to the matriarch of a Chinese banking family and I was appalled at what I saw. When I opened her room, it reeked of urine and festering pressure sores and on a huge antique bed lay a tiny looking woman in her eighties who was so shriveled she looked like a prune. She was alone in the room. You would have thought that with all their wealth, the son could have hired a nurse or a care giver. And to think that the couple are staples of society parties and society pages. Hideous! Nasty!

  14. July 6, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    The Il*sorios???!

  15. spendaholic said,

    July 6, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    she should just burn in hell!! who won in the legal battle??

  16. Garganta Inflamada said,

    July 6, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    Toto, shocking!! But I wouldn’t exactly say this family (including the Widow) has endured a life of hardship. From what I know…

    – for their 50th (or was it 60th?) wedding anniversary, Patriarch treated family and friends (a party of about 30) to an all expenses-paid Mediterranean cruise and a trip to the 1992 Expo in Sevilla, Spain;

    – surviving oldest Hija #1 commutes regularly between Manila, NYC and Europe, despite holding a job as an investment banker in NYC;

    – la Hija #1 resides in a Fifth Avenue penthouse in the mid-70s (East 70s streets) in Manhattan. Is probably the one remaining Filipina with this title today since Chito MC passed away; and Loida Nicolas-Lewis supposedly sold hers already.

    (Plus the family has two other older apartments in the Lincoln Center area, behind that new Time-Warner Plaza — the widow’s faction retains title to these units; and another one around the United Nations area.)

    – family used to have another penthouse unit on Nob Hill in San Francisco but finally sold it a few years ago since no one was really using it.

    So I don’t really see how accursed that kind of a life can be… or were these all Illusions?

    G.I.

  17. Isabela said,

    July 6, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    Hello, Toto!

    I accidentally discovered your blog. Now, my Mom and I read it religiously. Thanks for the entertainment!

    About this entry, let me guess? The cruel mother of E*****a K***w I*****o? Anyway, what a bunch of greedy folks! Can’t they share the alleged 33 billion pesos left to them by P.I.?

    Looking forward to more from you!

    Cheers,
    Isabela


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