Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A mother's love

This is my column today.

A riveting sidebar story to the whole Jason Ivler caper involved Marlene Aguilar, the fugitive’s mother. Up until last Monday, Aguilar projected the image of a grieving mother, the stereotypical Mater Dolorosa who shed copious tears on public television, at turns appealing to her son to surrender to the authorities and blaming everyone else for her son’s tragedy from Uncle Sam to allegedly overzealous government authorities. It was easy to empathize with her and I know many did.

Everyone can relate to a mother’s grief; after all, everyone has a mother and mothers by nature are supposed to be nurturing, fiercely protective of, and are supposed to have unconditional love for their children.

In the interest of transparency, I will disclose that I am not exactly an objective and disinterested party in this case. I have written in this space about my close relationship with Renato Victor Ebarle, the victim of Ivler’s uncontrollable rage. I am one of those who want Ivler and his accomplices brought to the bar of justice. But most of all, I am of the firm belief that Ivler poses serious risks to the life and liberty of many other citizens and should not be allowed to roam our streets. The fact that he harmed two members of his arresting party last Monday more than proves this point.

Just like others, I had doubts about Aguilar’s sincerity particularly when she started making a sales pitch for her book “Warriors of Heaven.” If we are to believe Aguilar, Ivler’s woes were mainly caused by her supposed unflinching criticism of United States government policies as contained in her book. To be fair to her, I haven’t read the book. I did pick the book up and scanned through it many months ago, long before Ivler murdered Victor Ebarle in cold blood (as many witnesses attested to) and I remembered feeling a little queasy over the rather graphic artwork. The book featured a nude Aguilar on the back cover. I am not saying that a book’s artwork is enough indictment or confirmation of its literary or commercial worth but I have this thing against overt efforts to sell a book through gimmickry such as the use of shocking or prurient images masquerading as art.

At any rate, I had my doubts and was suspicious of Aguilar’s complicity to her son’s cloak-and-dagger operations. However, like most everyone else, I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. I think that most people in this country have so much affection for mothers in general that we’re all willing to go the extra mile to accommodate, tolerate, even forgive a mother’s eccentricities. God knows I too have a mother who probably is capable of exhibiting the same flair for dramatics and the same level of obstinacy.

Last Monday’s dramatic capture of Ivler at Aguilar’s house has thrown a proverbial wrench into the discussion. Aguilar has been catapulted from being a mere sidebar to being the main issue. Her actuations are now the subject of intense debate and there’s now this whole discussion over the breadth and scope and the morality and ethics around a mother’s love.

The footages taken prior, during, and after the shootout that eventually resulted in the capture of a wounded Ivler (whose overall appearance and demeanor during the shootout was likened to that of movie icon Rambo) cannot dispute Aguilar’s complicity. She tried to mislead authorities. She harbored a fugitive. She tried to obstruct justice.

I didn’t get to watch footages of the dramatic encounter until the truncated version shown during the evening newscast but a friend who works at a media network relayed his description of Aguilar’s behavior. According to my friend, Aguilar displayed a whole range of emotions and behaviors associated with mothers fiercely protecting an offspring. My friend likened Aguilar’s behaviors with that of other members of the female species of the animal kingdom—from being a hen hysterically protecting her clutch of chicks by screaming and posturing indignantly like an aggrieved victim, to being a tigress ferociously blocking the way to her kitten’s den, to being, in the end, like a forlorn and dejected sloth who had lost a bitter battle to protect an offspring. The footages I got to watch during the newscast showed only snippets of Aguilar’s various transformations as a mother but they were enough to elicit mixed emotions and reactions from viewers.

The question that is foremost in people’s minds is: Were Aguilar’s actions justifiable in the context of a mother protecting her own son?

There are those who have admitted, albeit apologetically, that given a similar situation, they probably would have done the same thing Aguilar did. There are those who have put her to task for failing to do what they say is the ultimate test of a mother’s love: Teaching her child on what is right or wrong and instructing him, perhaps by example, to be responsible and accountable for his actions. There are those, of course, who insist that a mother who tolerates the criminal activities of her children is a criminal herself. Somewhere in between are those who said that they probably would have helped Ivler escape or would have offered continuous assistance such as money or other kinds of resources to keep him alive or safe but would not go as far as directly offer him sanctuary in their own houses.

Quite a number were taken aback by the seeming brazenness of Aguilar as manifested by her decision to actually keep Ivler in her house despite the major manhunt launched by the police to capture him dead or alive. The act seems like a direct insult on the capabilities of the police as if the family was openly taunting the ineptness of our law enforcers. There are unconfirmed rumors that she may have done so not purely out of maternal affection but simply because she had no choice. According to scuttlebutt, Ivler has major emotional issues (his overall demeanor seems to confirm this) and may have posed more harm to other people outside of his mother’s house.

I suspect that the discussion over Aguilar’s behaviors and the social, cultural, even legal and ethical implications of these will be a hot topic of conversation in the next few weeks. I doubt if there will be a consensus. Motherhood is a particularly emotional issue for most of us and I doubt if there is a standard job description for mothers. Aguilar’s behaviors certainly run counter to those of another famous celebrity mother who recently went on public television to castigate her celebrity daughter even going to the extent of saying that her daughter’s cancer was probably God’s way of reminding the daughter of the way she dishonored her mother. Ouch.

Those who think Aguilar’s behaviors are justifiable on account of the fact that she was just being a mother and therefore deserves empathy are best reminded that there is another mother in the equation—Renato Victor Ebarle’s mother. She lost her only son in a senseless, tragic, and brutal way. She also deserves our empathy and support.

At any rate, Aguilar now has all the time and opportunity in the world to shower her beloved son with all the maternal affection she can muster—while he rots in jail.

8 comments:

Contents under pressue said...

Call me heartless, but I have no sympathy for Marlene.

She intentionally hid a wanted fugitive who has already killed two people in cold blood, and never showed any remorse for his actions.

Her lies cost an honest man in Qatar his job, and our government millions of pesos in legal fees.

And when police began their manhunt for Ivler's second murder, she had the audacity to plug her book, claiming that the crackdown on Ivler was all part of some grand conspiracy to shut her down because of her criticisms of the U.S.

Lady, if the Philippine government sincerely did not like you, they wouldn't have gone through the trouble of making such a cloak-and-dagger ploy to frame your son. They would have silenced you directly.

Marlene Aguilar was not being a loving, protective mother who only thought of the welfare of her son. She was being an attention whore with serious psychological problems.

She needs help.

Anonymous said...

it's not love. it's madness.

Closet Techie said...

I still believe that Marlene loved herself more than she loved his son Jason http://bit.ly/7BjV1O

Anonymous said...

Am a mother of five, ages 10 to 25, and I shudder at the thought of going thru what Marlene Aguilar is going thru right now. But it's difficult to sympathize with her. Instead of acknowledging her son's crime and her role in what he has become, she blames others, and tries to sell a book at the same time. Just last night in the news she told reporters interviewing her that to understand the complexity of it all "...you have to read my book." Sick woman. As parents we are strong factors in how a child is molded. I should know, we're still molding 3 of the 5 kids hahaha. But seriously, it is the toughest job but we owe it to our community and to our God that our kids turn out to be decent, caring and productive adults. I have a 23 year old son, a US citizen born when we were grad students, he was three when we came home, went back to the US when he was 18, studied there and took up a US Army ROTC scholarship because he said he wanted to serve. Despite our pleas and my copious tears, he chose this path. He graduated from UCRiverside, is now a 2nd Lt., in training at Fort Knox and may soon deploy in Afghanistan. My tears are stilled by prayers and comforting words from family and friends, that I should be proud of my son. I guess we molded him right. The same way Efren, the CNN Hero, was molded right by his parents.
__MommyJo

Bong C. Austero said...

Mommy jo, have you seen the video of her singing Love Me Tender? It's scary. You would require therapy after. hahaha.

Bong C. Austero said...

Techie,
my thoughts exactly.

Riza said...

Marlene's mommyhood: questionable, but her actions can be justifiable in a sense that she is still a "mother" after all.

Marlene's intelligence: yes I agree she must be intelligent, otherwise she won't be able to express herself in the way she did, she was able to persuade people with her dramas, i think that would say something about her. We should understand that, her being intelligent makes us boring to her, she already made up her mind, she already has a set mind, that cannot be changed and should not be taken against her, after all, we should all be learned.

Marlene's Morality: People say that there's incest going on, etc etc. As it is written, who among you have no sin, cast the first stone. What she does to herself is her own accountability, let us not get into the trap of offending God because we're feeding in what she's offered us on the platter.

Justice: Renato Victor Ebarle’s mother: It is best for her to keep quiet at the moment and mourn for her son, lest she become like Marlene, like a rampaging pig, running around whining about something and over nothing. A woman grieves longer than a man because she's more emotional. Whatever Renato's mom say won't bring him back anyway, but my heart goes to her, it is hard to bear the thought that you've outlived your child, let alone if Renato is the only child.

Sorry if my two cents are too long.

Riza said...

I forgot to include; Marlene Aguilar seems to me a dangerous woman, in a sense that she could be a real black widow, after making love to her mate, she eats them alive.