At my favorite watering hole in Daly City, the guys are discussing the travails of President Donald Trump, some with sympathy, most with derision. Because the folks at the bar are all male, the focus of the discussion is understandably Stormy Daniels, the porn star who claims to have had an affair with Trump before he became president.
“Ang galing naman niya,” says Pete, while caressing his cold bottle of beer as if it were the porn star’s shapely body. “Imagine being paid $130,000 not to talk about her affair with Trump. Now, she’s suing Trump and trying to get out of their agreement.”
“Maybe she just wants more money,” quips in Danny the bartender.
Then Ramon, who has just returned from Manila, speaks up: “If Trump were president of the Philippines, he would have no such problems.”
“What do you mean?” ask the guys.
“Well, for one thing, if Trump were president of the Philippines, he would not even bother to deny his affair with Stormy Daniels. He would be boasting about it. That woman is va-va-voom!”
The guys at the bar are all ex-Manilans and have fond memories of its wild and woolly days. “Sabi nga ni Erap Estrada, so what kung babaero ako? Better than being lalakero.”
Erap Estrada, in case the notoriously forgetful Pinoys have forgotten, is the former president of the Philippines who didn’t mind bragging about his womanizing. His logic was that it was preferable to “man-izing.”
“You don’t need to use Erap as an example,” cuts in Danny. “President Digong Duterte has boasted about his two mistresses and two girlfriends. During the campaign, he reasoned that he needed to make use of this (pointing to the bump in his pants), otherwise what was it for?”
“And the Speaker of the House, Panty Alvarez…” adds Pete.
“You mean, Pantaleon Alvarez,” Ramon corrects him.
“I call him Panty Alvarez dahil mahilig sa panty,” says Pete. “He has been showing off his girlfriend — not his wife — and bringing her with him on official trips.”
“That’s only one side of the situation,” says Ramon, who has been following developments in Manila. “If Trump were president of the Philippines, do you think any woman would dare expose him to the media or shake him down for blackmail money?”
“Let me guess,” says Danny knowingly. “Option one — Suppress relations. The media would have several thousand reasons not to publicize the scandal.”
Pete cuts in: “Option two — Tokhang. Stormy Daniels would have the PNP knocking on her door (tok-tok) and ‘requesting’ her (hangyo) to go with them. That would be the last that would be heard of her.”
And Pete adds, “That’s not all. I think the PNP would ravish her first, before killing her and burying her somewhere difficult to trace.”
“Option three — A congressional investigation,” Danny continues. “The members of the House of Representatives would conduct an inquiry covered live by television where they would accuse her of being a prostitute (they call porn movies ‘Fighting Fish’ in Manila) and make her publicly recant her accusations against President Digong Trump.”
“Well, okay… Donaldong Trump.”
“Or course, that congressman from Ilocos — the one who had a sex tape years ago, remember? — will first make her describe in detail her lovemaking with Trump before dismissing it as all lies,” says Pete.
“Option four,” Ramon now volunteers. “Vitaliano Aguirre, the secretary of Justice, would line up witnesses against Stormy Daniels from the whorehouses in Pasay and toros from Tagalog bomba movies to testify against her. Then she would be thrown in jail.”
“Just like Leila de Lima?
“Yep, just like Leila de Lima,” concludes Ramon.
“But that would only happen if Stormy Daniels were an ordinary Pinay,” says Paul. “Not if she is American.”
“How do you know that?” the guys at the bar ask.
“Remember Dovie Beams?” asks Paul.
“Dovie Beams? You mean the Hollywood actress who became a mistress of President Marcos?” the guys ask like a choir.
Paul recalls how Dovie Beams had gone to Manila to star in the movie, Maharlika, which was supposed to be about the war exploits of Marcos. Marcos took a liking for her and they had an affair that lasted two years.
“Well, Dovie Beams made tape recordings of her and Marcos in bed and of him singing love songs to her,” says Paul.
Paul pulls out a printout from Wikipedia and reads parts of it: “In 1970, a huge scandal hit the Philippines over the stormy break-up between then President Ferdinand Marcos and his mistress of two years, Hollywood starlet Dovie Beams. On many occasions, she had hidden a tape recorder under a bed while making love to the president.”
“Go on, go on,” the guys urge Paul.
“Before leaving the country, Beams held a press conference, and delighted the press and public by playing erotic recordings of herself with Marcos. According to her, she was forced to publicize her ‘love affair’ as ‘protection’ since there were many threats to her life.”
“I’m willing to bet that the reason Dovie Beams was able to leave the Philippines alive was because Marcos didn’t want to get into trouble with the US,” ventures Rudy. “If she had been a Pinay, na-tokhang na iyon.”
Danny corrects Rudy. “Tokhang was not in fashion then. They called it salvage.”
“I agree that if she were not a US citizen, Dovie Beams would have been picked up in the middle of the night,” says. Paul. “But according to Dovie Beams, Imelda Marcos tried to have her killed.”
Apparently, Imelda had arranged to load Dovie Beams in a plane to get her out of the country and get the scandal off the media. This was with the cooperation of the US embassy.
Paul refers to his Wikipedia printout and reads some more: “She was soon brought on to the plane by a staff member of the US embassy, but as soon as she left the plane, the seat next to her was taken by Delfin V. Cueto, whom she knew to be Marcos’s ‘No. 1 hatchet man.’ He made no approach to her during the flight, but she was thoroughly frightened and on arrival in Hong Kong moved hotels frequently.”
“Did Dovie Beams get killed?” the guys chorus again, eagerly.
“No, she got married to someone named Sergio de Villagran and they lived in a huge mansion in Pasadena,” says Paul. “People suspect that she had been paid off by Marcos but she denied it and insisted that she made her money from her movies and her husband’s businesses.”
At any rate, according to Paul, Dovie Beams and her husband were indicted in California for multimillion-dollar bank fraud and, at the time of the news report, they faced the possibility of long jail sentences.”
“Well, if they were in the Philippines, that would not have happened,” says Ramon. “They would negotiated their way out of the indictment.”
“What made you say that?” ask the guys at the bar.
Of course they all knew the answer to that and they chorused:
“Because in the Philippines, everything is negotiable. That’s why it’s more fun in the Philippines.”
Greg B. Macabenta is an advertising and communications man shuttling between San Francisco and Manila and providing unique insights on issues from both perspectives.