Apr 21
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Judy Ann’s Mommy dearest

Author: The Philippine Star

In local entertainment, we have a long list of showbiz mothers: Mama Santos (Milagros), the loving mother of Vilma Santos; Mamay Tunying, the late mother of Nora Aunor; Mommy Linda Martinez, mother of Maricel Soriano; Mommy Jean, mother of Alma Moreno; Daisy Romualdez; the feisty foster mother of Tina Paner; Annabelle Rama, the even feistier mother of Ruffa Gutierrez; Mommy Guapa, the very friendly mother of Isabel Granada, etc. The list can go on and on and we might as well stop here. (And we’re not even counting here the well-loved "Mother" Ricky Reyes who looks after with keen interest the welfare of a lot of showbiz people who might as well all have been born from out of his womb – that is, if he had one. )

These showbiz mothers come in different forms, shapes and sizes. They also differ in mood and temperament.

One of the more controversial showbiz mothers these days is Mommy Carol Santos, mother of Judy Ann Santos.

I first met Mommy Carol in 1997 – when she used to visit Cristy Fermin in the studio of Showbiz Lingo. Although it was mostly just hi and hello between us, I sensed even then that she’s basically a warm and caring person. I also noticed then that she was well-bred and well-mannered. Sadly, our conversations then lasted no more than two minutes each time we’d see each other.

I only got to know Mommy Carol better a few days ago –when I covered for Startalk the birthday party Judy Ann threw for the wards of Elsie Gaches Village in Alabang last Thursday. (The highlights of this private affair will be shown today at 2:30 p. m. on Channel 7. )

From my conversation with Mommy Carol that day, I found out that she traces her roots in Bacolod. She grew up in Pasay though and, in fact, earned her banking and finance degree from the Manuel L. Quezon University in Quiapo.

After graduation, however, she found a job at the Far East Bank branch in Bacolod and relocated there. When she eventually got married (to the father of Judy Ann), she moved back to Manila and looked forward to becoming a plain housewife. She bore her husband three children: actor Jeffrey, now 30; Jacqueline, a registered nurse now 26; and Judy Ann, 23. "When I was conceiving Judy Ann, I craved for durian – and it’s a good thing she didn’t grow up mabaho," quips Mommy Carol.

Life was good for her family then. In Tanay, Rizal, they owned the biggest grocery store in town – the Victoria Supermart.

In 1986, Mommy Carol almost died when she found out that her husband was having an affair with another woman. She left him and from then on, things just went downhill for her and the rest of her children. With hardly any money, she tried to raise her three kids in the city. (Judy Ann’s father is now based in the US with his new wife and their two kids).

Fortunately, it wasn’t all that difficult to feed her three children who – she claims – were raised on instant noodles. "But when Mommy had the money, we’d have kare-kare which is our favorite," volunteers Jeffrey.

Although she was a loving and caring mother to her brood, she described herself as a reincarnation of Adolph Hitler when it came to disciplining her kids. "But I wouldn’t spank them," she insists. "Of course, I had my own style of disciplining them," she adds and proceeds to relate an instance when she had to punish Judy Ann and Jacqueline.

"They were quarreling violently. So pina-dipa ko sila at pinatakan ko ng kandila sa mga kamay. It worked. From then on, they stopped fighting with each other. "

The discipline she instilled in her children was put to good use when she had to leave her children behind to work in Canada in 1989.

Although Jeffrey was already in the movies then and Judy Ann was doing TV commercials, the family was always still short of cash. The only solution was for Mommy Carol to make the ultimate sacrifice of farming out her children to close relatives and work abroad. "Wala akong resentment kahit iniwan niya kami that time. She explained it to us naman why she had to leave," points out Judy Ann.

"And that was also difficult from my end. I used up half of what I was earning in Canada (as a care-giver to old folks) to pay phone bills since I was calling them up every other day," Mommy Carol remembers.

A great part of her salary was also used to buy imported goods that she regularly sent to her children here in Manila. Mind you, even the vinegar that Judy Ann used to dip her chicharon carried a Canadian brand.

In 1996, Mommy Carol felt she had saved enough and went back home. Judy Ann, too, was already a big star by then and so there was no longer any need for her mother to slave it out in Canada.

But life wasn’t necessarily easy for Mommy Carol here in Manila. She was always a victim of black propaganda instigated by some members of the movie press. And to make things worse, she had this ugly feud with Judy Ann’s manager, Alfie Lorenzo. To Judy Ann’s relief, her mother and manager finally resolved whatever differences they had between them a couple of years back.

When those horrible jokes at the expense of Judy Ann Santos were being circulated via text messages, Mommy Carol found herself dying little by little every day. "Kung nasaktan si Judy Ann du’n sa mga text messages, triple ang sakit sa akin. As her mother, I was helpless. I couldn’t do anything. If only I was able to get hold of those people who started those jokes – ‘yung mga walang magawa sa buhay na mga ’yon – baka pinatay ko na sila," Mommy Carol says with a pained tone in her voice. "We tried to trace where those text messages were coming from, pero hindi namin talaga mahanap. Kung si Erap nga, hindi niya ma-trace ’yung mga nagpapadala ng mga jokes about him sa mga text messages, ako pa na ordinary citizen lang? The one thing good about Judy Ann, she eventually learned to ignore those things. Sabi nga niya, ‘Kung mukhang siopao ang mukha ko, what can I do?’" relates Mommy Carol.

Those ugly jokes about Judy Ann have finally stopped – to the relief of everyone in the young star’s camp.

Negative write-ups about Judy Ann and her mother still surface from time to time. But they’ve learned to accept all these as part of the trade.

Mommy Carol just looks forward to tomorrow’s celebration of Mother’s Day. Somehow, she already has an idea on what Judy Ann is giving her as gift on this special day. "She usually gives me jewelry - for my birthday, Christmas and Mother’s Day. Gusto daw niya kasing maibalik ‘yung mga pieces of jewelry that I had to sell during that period that we didn’t have money," explains Mommy Carol.

Although she appreciates the gesture from Judy Ann’s end, Mommy Carol insists that it’s not really all that necessary. What she wants to regain at this point is the time they lost during that long period they were away from each other – when Mommy Carol, like many other Filipino mothers, had to slave it out in a foreign land for the sake of her beloved children.

Source: The Philippine Star