[Story Behind: Wendy Feriol talked about her mother's death]
[OC's Heiress Blaming Mios Avez for Tamara Feriol murder]
[Mios Avez's Downfall: Failure to secure the vicinity]
[The truth has been told! Wendy Feriol confirmed the cause of Feriol Family's tragedy]
The next morning, my phone is bombarded with text messages. Una kong binasa ang mga text galing kay Gigi.
"I really wanted to come over but Renzo told me to let you rest so maybe I'll just see you at OC? Hindi mo kami nasabihan tungkol sa statement mo."
"The whole industry is already shaking by the news of Tita's death but you shook it even more with your statement."
"How did the Mios Avez reacted to this? Have they contacted you already?"
"If you're seeing the news right now, Mios Avez is now showered with criticisms. Plus, they lost their future clients. Karma is fucking real."
My e-mails are also flooded with requess for an interview but only one mail caught my attention.
"Good morning, Miss Feriol. This is Irene Castro, I am the secretary of Mr. De Dios, the CEO of Mios Avez Holdings. We send our deepest apology regarding the issue. Our CEO, Mr. De Dios would like to request a private meeting with you. We hope that you can find time to accord our humble request."
I replied right away. "Send my secretary the details to see which time I am available."
I visited OC's media website and read my statement.
"To the public,
I appreciate your growing concern about our family's incident. To end the rumors once and for all, I would like to confirm that my mother, Tamara Mercado Feriol, indeed passed away during our encounter with an intruder on the 28th day of April. I am currently mourning for my deceased loved one and my father, Henry Feriol is not on his best state either but we are both determined that we will overcome this tragedy very soon.
As for the Mioz Avez Holdings, the developer of the subdivision, who failed to provide a secured environment for us, we will deal with them accordingly. However, we hope that this will be the last time that a top-line developer will fail its duty to secure its clients' safety."
Sa lamesa sa aking kwarto ay may mga envelope at folders na naroon. May nakalagay na note kaya agad kong binasa. "This is the police report."
This must be from Renzo. I spent a few minutes to understand fully what happened that night.The report only fueled my anger so there is no way I will let Mios Avez Holdings off the hook easily.
Agad akong nagtungo sa silid ni Dad. Tulala pa rin siya sa malayo habang nakaupo sa kaniyang wheelchair.. "Dad?"
Hindi niya ako nilingon pero nanatili akong nakaluhod sa kaniyang gilid. "I'll visit Mom. Do you want to come with me?"
Lumingon siya sa akin at mahigpit na hinawakan ang aking kamay.. "Take me to my wife.. I want to see my wife.." His hand is trembling and the unshed tears in his eyes triggered a lump to suddenly form in my throat.. "Yes, Dad. We'll see her."
Sa tulong ng apat na nurse ay sumakay kami sa van at nagmaneho palabas ng subdivision. Siguro'y talagang nais bumawi ng Mios Avez sa kanilang pagkukulang kaya sa labas ng subdivision ay may inihandang barricade upang maharangan ang media.
The van drove smoothly until we reached the highway. Sa likod ng van ay nakasunod ang aking sasakyan na minamaneho ni Mang Jerry.
The nurses assisted my father out of the van as we all entered the columbarium. A helper quickly walked towards us holding a key. Sumakay kami sa lift bago nakarating sa ikatlong palapag kung saan may mahabang pasilyo, sa dulo nito ay isang pinto.
Agad na binuksan ng helper ang pinto kaya isa-isa kaming pumasok sa loob. It's a small room filled with flowers. Beside the wall, lies a round podium with a jade-green urn on top.
Tinitigan ko ang larawan ni Mom sa pader. Sa gilid ko'y narinig ko ang malakas na pag-iyak ni Dad. I gestured all the nurses to go out. In this small room, all I hear is my own sobbing my father's helpless cries..
He's trying to reach for the urn but urged him not to.. "Dad, when the time is right, we will spread her ashes in the place of your choice but for now.. you should focus on your health. Mom will never want you to be like this.."
After hearing what I said.. he weakly leaned back against his wheelchair.. "I miss her.. My wife."
After spending a few minutes inside the room, I called out the nurses to assist my father back to the van. "Take him home. And please.. if he tries to be aggressive again, be more patient with him."
The nurses nodded as they bowed their head.. "Yes, Ma'am."
I left the place with my car. Nang tumunog ang aking cellphone ay agad akong sinagot ang tawag.
"You have a scheduled lunch meeting with Mr. De Dios, Ma'am. Would you like to confirm it?"
I sighed heavily. "Yes."
"Okay, Ma'am. Have a safe trip."
Another call came in.. "Hello?"
Julius sighed on the other line.. "Did you know that Renzo went to a private meeting with your uncle?"
Mabuti na lamang ay natigil ang aking sasakyan dahil sa traffic kaya mas mabibigyan ko ng atensyon ang tawag. "What's so wrong about that?" Though I have my doubts too.
"Kaninang umaga, nakita ko silang palabas sa isang hotel. Tinawagan ko si Jessica kung nasaan si Renzo ngayon. Did you know what she told me? That Renzo is currently on a conference to in behalf of your father. Conference my ass! They are lying to us."
Nanatili akong tahimik..
"I don't exactly know what is happening, Wendy. But Renzo is sure lying!"
Mariin akong pumikit at sa huli sa napabuntong-hininga na lamang.. "If that's the case, Renzo thinks too highly of himself, then. I managed OC for four years and he managed it for five but that doesn't mean he can manipulate me like this. Let him lie as long as he want to. If I lose my patience, he only has himself to blame."
I ended the call and attended the meeting with Mr. De Dios. Habang papasok sa loob ng restaurant ng hotel ay nararamdaman ko na ang nag-aalab na galit sa akin ngunit wala akong pinapakitang emosyon.
Inihatid ko ng receptionist sa aming lamesa at agad naman akong sinalubong ni Mr. De Dios.. "Good afternoon, Miss Feriol." His expression and his voice are screaming of guilt and well.. sympathy. But let's see if he can still sympathize with me after this meeting.
"Let's order first.. Miss Feriol."
Staring at him, I realized, no matter how powerful a CEO can be, if one knows that he is in the verge of destruction because of his own fault, he will eventually kneel down and ask for forgiveness. Only that this CEO in front of me didn't kneel down but glued his eyes on the table and bowed his head the whole time.
"Mr. De Dios. I know my secretary only gave you my lunch time because this is the only time available. But I have no intention of eating with you so let's not beat around the bush. What do you want to say?"
He lifted his gaze and sat straight.. ready to explain.
"In behalf of our Chairman, Mr. Kim, I would like to apologize. Your formidable statement brought us in the brink of wreckage. With your statement, our clients retaliated and are planning to sell out their mansion, there are still seven available mansions in Mios Avez but because of public criticisms, our future clients are no more interested to sign the contracts. If Mios Avez remained idle, we will have no choice but to sell it out to another developer for a cheap price and that will be a total loss for us. Please give us a chance to revive. We will compensate you for the damage. And from now on, we will strengthen the security of the subdivision. We are deeply sorry for what happened."
I remained silent for a while. Pabalik-balik ang kaniyang tingin sa akin at sa walang lamang pinggan sa kaniyang harapan. I remained as calm as I can but I can see beads of sweat in his forehead. He must be really nervous.
"Why is it you, who must be in the front line?"
"You are only here in behalf of your Chairman, you are sweating like hell while he's comfortably sitting inside his office. You are dragging your pride down to the lowest point while he's just simply waiting for your return. Is this how sorry he is? Sending someone else to face the humiliation?"
The CEO literally dropped his jaw and shook his head afterwards.. "O..our Chairman is just busy with-"
"There are plenty of time to set a meeting, why does he wanted it so urgent but sent someone else? If he's really eager to ask for forgiveness, he'll have the face to show up here. Did you know the result of the police report? The guards you assigned to protect us, slept during their work hours!"
His face quickly turned pale in shock. "W..we are.. already informed about that.. we are very sorry."
I sneered and looked away helplessly. "All of our former bodyguards are already fired, they already received their fair share of punishment. So do you think Mios Aves will be exempted? If your simple apology could bring my mother back to life, do you think I will bother releasing an official statement? Because of your fault, my mother has died! And compensate us? You will compensate us?"
"How much are you going to compensate us, huh? A million? A billion? Who are you to even think that you could compensate us for what happened? I can destroy your Chairman's business without even lifting a finger!"
The CEO trembled in fear. "I.. I'm sorry, Miss Feriol."
"You have to be thankful that my father still cannot grasp the situation because once he does, he will shred you and your chairman to pieces."
Tumayo na ako pero agad na napaatras nang lumuhod sa aking harapan si Mr. De Dios.
"I'm sorry, Miss Feriol! Please! Let me revive! Please leave a few good words about me, release another statement to clean my name. In exchange, I will expose our Chairman's wrongdoings. Please, Miss Feriol! I am begging for your mercy."
I stared at this old man with disgust. "Whether your Chairman has done a lot of wrongdoings is none of my business. But I must say, you are a lot worse than him. You know that you have partaken into these wrongdoings but to save yourself, you're asking me clean up after you so your Chairman will take all the blame in the end? With this downfall, you only have yourself to blame. With the mistakes that we willingly do, we'll pay for it eventually. You cannot escape it."
Trust me. I know.
I left the place immediately. Pinilit kong maging kalmado habang patungo sa aking sasakyan. I don't have to scheme with that old man against their Chairman because I know, with my statement, there is no way they will be able to acquire clients in the future. A total destruction for them!
Pagdating ko sa OC ay sinalubong ako agad ni Jessica at sabay kaming nagtungo sa elevator. "Ma'am, Mr. Solivares would like to know if you want to have your own office?"
Natigilan ako at humarap sa kaniya. "Does he finds it inconvenient that I am using his office?"
Ngumiti si Jessica at umiling. "Actually, he's thinking that you may find it inconvenient to share an office with him. He doesn't want to disturb you so he wants to ask if you would like to have your own office."
Hindi na ako nag-abala pang sumagot. Dahil sa tawag ni Julius kanina, maging ang tiwala ko kay Jessica ay nabahiran.
Pagdating sa opisina ni Renzo ay mabuti at hindi namin siya naabutan doon. Naupo ako sa sofa pero napabaling nang ilahad ni Jessica ang kamay sa swivel chair ni Renzo. "Mr. Solivares wants you to know that you can use everything in this office and that includes his chair."
I sighed and nodded. "Okay."
Jessica smiled and glanced at her iPad before turning her gaze back at me. "Mr. Harold Feriol will arrive in few minutes."
I nodded and gestured her to go out. I suddenly wondered if I can ask her to do secret agendas for me. I sighed heavily as I weighed whether I should look for another secretary. Ngunit kung gagawin ko iyon ay siguradong makakahalata si Renzo na may alam ako.
Whatever Renzo is planning to do, he has to make sure na para ito sa ikabubuti ng OC. I once slapped his 'mistress' but my fury does not end there, he hasn't even seen half of it so he better behave.
Agad akong bumaling sa pinto nang bumukas ito. Pumasok sa loob ang aking tiyuhin kasama ang kaniyang anak, si Denise na pinsan ko. Maybe it runs in the blood, but I automatically reclined in my chair, claiming the utmost authority.
"Good afternoon, Wendy. How are you?" He smiled weakly and sat on the chair in front of Renzo's desk.
Denise sighed. "I feel sorry for what happened, Wendy. Are you okay now?"
I remained emotionless as I nodded. "I am fine now. If you want to visit my father, I guess you have to wait for few days. We are moving house so.."
Tito Harold shrugged. "Oh, we're not in hurry. Do not worry." The calmness I have is totally different than his. His unfazed expression shows much of being uninterested. Making me think that he is not actually here to visit my father. He's here for something else.
"So what's your plan, Tito? You acquired my mother's shares."
His smiled slowly faded. I know he sensed the mockery in my voice.
"I have no plans about that yet. Our company overseas is doing fine so I'm not interested much in doing business here."
Kahit ang isip ko'y tila sinilaban ng apoy, nanatiling walang emosyon ang akin mga mata. He doesn't know. Hindi niya alam.. na alam kong nalugi na ang kumpaniya nila doon.
Akala niya, dahil nawala ako ng limang taon ay wala akong ideya sa nangyayari sa paligid. Pinili ko lamang na huwag tumanggap ng balita tungkol kay Renzo noon pero ang ibang mga bagay, alam na alam ko.
"You are a good businessman, Tito. It's not surprising you are doing great overseas."
Let's play your game then.