Monday, February 16, 2015

Gov’s love story borders ‘Gone Girl’ plot (Feature)
By John Mark Escandor

LABO, Camarines Norte, Feb. 13 (PNA) -- The Camarines Norte governor’s love story borders the Gone Girl’s plot, with the missing wife coming home despite so many serious entanglements.

The province's top official's story, however, luckily did not have the murder portion that author Gillian Flynn wove into a dark tale that was made into a movie, with the same title, that stars Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike and was shown at the time his wife went missing last year.

Flynn’s dark tale of an American couple in edgy and double-edged circumstances drew frenzy media attention when the female espouse disappeared mysteriously from their house.

Camarines Norte Gov. Edgardo A. Tallado’s marital misadventure grabbed the national headlines when his wife disappeared at the time the national media were hooked to the Senate committee hearing of the alleged overpriced Makati building when Vice President Jejomar Binay was the mayor of Makati.

It provided a telenovela-type break to a political drama that had unfolded.

In Tallado’s case though, his wife disappeared with a companion, without leaving deceptive written clues unlike in the movies where the wife staged it all.

Gone Girl revolves around a complicated and thrilling tale of characters Nick Dunne and wife Amy, who disappeared from their house on their fifth wedding anniversary.

Unknown to Nick, Amy left behind a bombshell in her husband’s way by framing him in her “murder” and leaving behind a diary with entries accusing her husband of infidelity that made her fear for her life.

When Amy surfaced at the end of the story, she successfully made a move that obliged her husband to agree living together again with her.

Josefina “Josie” B. Tallado, 45, the governor's wife, dropped the bombshell against her husband before viewers of a national television’s early morning broadcast on Oct. 22 last year when she narrated how she supposedly escaped from their house here, accompanied by friend Darlene Francisco.

Josie claimed she feared Tallado was going to kill her and Francisco after she discovered his infidelity and he had accused her and Francisco of posting in the Facebook compromising photos of an alleged woman the governor had an affair with.

On October 17, 2014, Josie drove a black SUV with Francisco accompanying her from her house to the latter’s residence, five kilometers from their house in Labo town to Vinzons town where they were last seen.

The following day, police authorities found the vehicle on the side of the road in Barangay Napolidan, Lupi, Camarines Sur, at the boundary of Bicol Natural Park, 45 kilometers from Vinzons town.

Inside the vehicle were a burned umbrella, spent match sticks and a throw pillow soaked in crude oil.

Worried about his wife’s whereabouts upon the discovery of the abandoned vehicle that she drove, Tallado called a press conference and tearfully asked the public to help him locate his wife and appealed to whoever took control of her to get back at him instead, if they were his enemies.

Never did he know that an explosive surprise awaited him after five days since Josie and Francisco were missing.

Three days after the press conference, the two appeared and were interviewed in live television in an early morning show where they narrated an alleged harrowing ordeal they experienced with Tallado before running away.

With lawyer Lorna Kapunan counseling Josie, she confessed to the public her predicament and secured a 15-day barangay protection order in Quezon City to prevent Tallado from coming near her.

Doing the talking for Josie, Kapunan threatened to file a case in court against the governor for violating Republic Act No. 6292, the Anti-Violence against Women and Their Children Act, which is aimed at “preventing further acts of violence against a woman or her child.”

In a rare show of openness, Tallado -- covered by the media from Sorsogon, Albay and the two Camarines provinces -- asked for forgiveness in front of Capitol employees right after the Monday morning flag ceremony.

He also asked a woman he named to also forgive him, and asked the public not to patronize compromising photos circulated in the Facebook.

The governor rallied the provincial employees to move on as he pledged to double his efforts to work harder to get development projects for the province.

He also apologized for dragging the name of Camarines Norte province in his “personal problem.”

Weeks passed after his public apology, the Tallado couple’s story died down after their only child Alvin appealed to the public to leave them alone, saying the problem was a family matter and they asked respect for their privacy.

Talks about the estranged Tallado couple getting together again made tongues wagging when in December last year, Josie went to Daet town to inaugurate the blood bank of the Philippine Red Cross Camarines Norte provincial chapter, which he chairs.

It was the first time she set foot in the province and they were seen together in public in the same place and the same occasion after the scandal broke out in October last year.

Josie went back to Manila in their house there after the half-day occasion and she just dropped by in their house here to say "hello" to people inside the Tallado household, according to an aide living inside the Tallado compound.

In the first week of February, Josie stayed and slept in their house in this town for the first time, Tallado revealed.

Most of her time, he said, is spent in Manila with her grandchildren, but recently, he added, Josie goes around Camarines Norte in her activities in the PRC.

While Tallado’s wife is apparently back in her family after the scandal, the 22-year-old Francisco, Josie’s companion when she ran away from home until she surfaced in the national television, was brought to Australia by her family to cool off, according to her aunt Debbie Francisco, a lawyer and tourism officer of the provincial government of Camarines Norte.

Tallado said he wanted to leave the accusation of infidelity trained at him by his wife as personal matter he and his wife are dealing with right now but, he said, he is rectifying mistakes to repair their relation and rebuild their family.

“It was a nightmare that cost and damaged my reputation. But what is more important now is that our family is whole again, and we hope to overcome the differences that we have, one by one,” he said.

Josie’s marital relation with Tallado, now 51, has been comfortable and her husband has never raised a hand on her all through the years of being together, she said once about her husband in the ABS-CBN television interview.

The Tallado couple has two grandchildren, both girls ages 4 and 3 years old, from Alvin, 27, who now runs the family construction business.

Alvin was instrumental in reaching out to his mother and persuaded her to come home and resolve the problem within the family in order to start anew and mend their relations torn apart by the scandal.

He said with his father’s persuasion and determination to make their family whole again, he contacted his mother and held a series of heart-to-heart talks with her until she gave in to his request of resolving their problem at home.

He was able to talk to her mother several days after the scandal broke out while Josie was still in a “safe house” in Manila when Kapunan took her under her wings.

Alvin said his initiative to convince her mother paid off because he demanded to exclude other people and lawyers in his talks with his mother.

This allowed them to spend their time with unfettered discussion about their problem and explore solutions on family terms.

“I am an only child. I don’t want my mother to leave our home and my children are so close to her and they miss her and I do not have answer where their lola has gone,” he said.

Alvin said that there are people gloating at the family problem that exploded in the media and wanted their family to be torn apart, especially his father’s political foes.

He said his mother Josie started visiting first his two little girls in their house in Manila in November and then later she moved there to recoup what had been missing in her life and family, while Tallado stays in their house here.(PNA) CTB/FGS/JME/cbd/