Nang makapasok ako sa restaurant ay iginiya ako ng isang receptionist patungo sa isang lamesa. Vida agreed to meet with me ngunit nang matanaw ko siya sa kinauupuan niya'y kitang kita ko ang disgusto sa kaniyang mukha.
She looked at me with mockery. Like she's thinking that her move caused me total destruction. "What do you want?"
I sad down and gently placed my phone in front of her. I played the video and watched her face turn pale.
"Fuck." Nanlaki ang kaniyang mga mata at agad na pinatay ang cellphone ko. "Where did you get this?" Her voice is now laced with suppressed anger.
"Do you want me to expose this as well? Para patas na tayo?"
Her jaw dropped in an instant and in just a split of second, the mockery on her face is replaced with pleading and panic. "I.. I just did it for.. publicity.."
I leaned against my chair and watched her find her right words.
"I.. I'm sorry. What can I do to.. redeem myself?"
I can sense her growing panic every passing second. I sighed and looked at her calmly habang siya'y hindi makatingin ng diretso sa akin.
"Everything you exposed was true pero alam mo ba ang pagkakamali mo?"
She stared at me for a while and shook her head, clueless of the answer.
"It's not your story to tell."
Bumaling siya sa akin, punong puno ng guilt at takot ang kaniyang mga mata. "I.. I was just tempted with Emily and your.. Uncle's offer.. and.. they said that your father is unwell so no one can.. harm me."
Kusa akong napangiti. Bakit, ang ama ko lang ba ang kaniyang magdulot ng kapahamakan?
"You're not afraid of me, then?"
Mabilis niyang ininom ang tubig sa basong nasa lamesa at dahan dahang umiling.. "I'm just.. desperate."
I sighed and stared at her. Sa lahat ng dumalo sa party ko noon, si Vida ang pinakamadaling kuhanan ng impormasyon. Ang mga bisita ko noon ay mga propesyunal na ngayon at hindi na mag-aaksaya pa ng oras para gumawa ng ganitong isyu. Kahit bayaran, matatag ang prinsipyo nila at sa ngayon, alam kong mas mayaman pa sila kaysa sa aking tiyuhin kaya hindi sila mabibili ng pera.
But for Vida, she was kicked out of school because of a major violation and was disowned by her parents. She then decided to be an actress and right now, she badly needs publicity, her career is going down.. kaya madali siyang bumigay sa ganitong offer.
"My Uncle is married. His wife is currently in Singapore. Is Emily.. his mistress?"
Umiwas siya ng tingin, walang balak magsalita. Hindi rin ako nagsalita kaya dahan dahan siyang bumaling sa akin. Nang magtama ang aming tingin ay ngumiti ako. "Stop testing my patience."
"Yes.. yes.. Emily is your uncle's.. mistress.. they.. they book at random hotels to.. you know.."
I nodded and looked away as I felt like throwing up. Disgusting creatures!
Muli akong napabuntong hininga bago bumaling sa kaniya. "I want your public apology and I want you.. to reveal the people behind this.. the one who urged you and the one who paid the news." Bumaling siya sa akin. Alam kong dalawang tao lamang ang iniisip naming pareho. I smirked at her kaya muling bumaba ang kaniyang tingin sa lamesa. "Make sure that I will be satisfied with your apology or else, forget about reviving your career. Send your statement to my secretary once it's ready."
"To your secretary? What are you planning to do?"
I stood up and left the place without a word.
Kinaumagahan ay isang tawag ang natanggap ko kay Jessica kaya natigil ako sa pag-aayos ng ilang papeles.
"Good morning, Miss Feriol."
"Mr. Harold Feriol called for an urgent meeting. It's scheduled later at 9 am in the morning."
"What is the meeting for?"
"For the election of the new Chairman of the Board, Miss Feriol."
I sighed. "Okay. When I tell you to release Vida's statement, release it right away."
Kahit duda ako kay Jessica, sigurado naman akong mapagkakatiwalaan ko siya sa maliit na bagay na ito. I ended the call and prepared everything before leaving. It took much of my time preparing so I was late for 5 minutes.
Before entering the hall, naabutan ko si Renzo na nakaupo sa sofang nasa labas.
He stood up immediately. "Come with me."
Though a bit suspicious, I remained calm as possible. We entered a smaller room where different set of papers are placed on top of the table.
"What are these?"
He stared at me a gestured me to sit..
After few minutes of discussion, we left the small room and went to the conference hall. Jessica pulled the double door open for me so I walked in calmly. Flashes from the cameras of our own photographers and few invited media men and writers blinded me but I remained unfazed and even managed to smile at them.
Nagsitayo ang labinlimang miyembro ng board nang marating ko ang aking upuan sa dulo ng lamesa. I smiled at everyone and sat first.
Si Renzo ay diretsong nagtungo sa podium na nasa harapan at hinintay na magsiupo ang lahat bago simulan ang meeting. Sa paligid ay maririnig pa rin ang sunod-sunod na pag-click ng mga camera sa paligid.
I remained silent as I watched Jessica turn the microphone on in front of me. All of us focused our attention to the man in front, Renzo, who spoke with clarity and vim.
"Today's agenda, after 30 years of leading in the industry, OneClick Advertising Incorporated, with over 50 headquarters worldwide, will now be discoursing its first transition of Chairmanship."
"As we are all aware, our Chairman of the Board, Miss Tamara Feriol, passed away on the 28th day of April."
"In her last will and testament, his brother-in-law, Mr. Harold Feriol, inherited her 30 percent shares."
Everyone remained silent. I guess it means they already know about Uncle's shares. I glanced at him who is smirking the whole time. He leaned his back against his chair as he looked at me with mockery.
Muli kong nilingon si Renzo.
"Since then, there has been major changes that transpired. At the screen is the graph of the new division of shares." His baritone voice once again echoed in the whole place.
Everyone stared at the white screen and in just a split of second, my uncle spoke. "The chart is wrong. Who did this chart?"
Nagpabalik-balik ang tingin ng board sa kaniya at sa screen. "Wrong? How is it wrong?" Mr. Wright asked.
The chart shows that 42 percent of the total shares are mine and 36 percent is Tito Harold's.
The Board of Directors started to whisper at each other. Si Mrs. Alajar ay tahimik lamang na tila nanonood ng isang magandang palabas.
Nilingon ko si Renzo para sa kaniyang sagot. "I believe that the chart is correct, Mr Feriol."
"Correct? Double check it. You acquired the 12 percent of the shares and we signed a share transfer agreement!"
"Did we?.. Mr. Feriol?"
Uncle's face turned pale. Saglit siyang natulala. Ang lahat ay naguguluhan.. nagbubulungan ngunit walang sinumang nagsalita maliban sa aking tiyuhin.. "You, Solivares. Did you.. just betray me?"
Although I'm quite far, I saw him smirked. "I am afraid that is a vague question, Mr. Feriol."
Tuluyan nang natahimik si Tito kaya nagpatuloy si Renzo.. "I am aware that everyone is confused so let me discuss the details." Natigil sa pagbubulungan ang lahat at tahimik na nakinig kay Renzo. "Days ago, I was able to acquire Mr. Suarez, Mr. De Guzman, Mr. Manabat, Mr. Greece, Mrs. McNeil and Mrs. John's shares that make the 12 percent of the total shares of OC."
Mas lalong lumakas ang mga bulungan. Nagsilingunan ang mga shareholders sa anim na binanggit. Tumango lamang sila at hindi nagpakita ng anumang pagkatalo, they all smiled and are confident with their decision kaya naman unti-unti ring kumalma ang iba pa.
"And earlier before this meeting commence, I agreed to signed a share transfer agreement with Miss Feriol. As a result, she now holds the 42 percent of the total shares."
Lahat naman sila ngayon ay bumaling sa akin. I heard few whispers.. "We didn't even see her lift a finger and yet, she managed to secure her empire. It really runs in the blood, a Feriol, no matter how devastated, is still a Feriol."
"She spent no effort and yet managed to give his uncle a smart blow. Imagine what else would happen if she decided to use to step up and use her own method?"
"Then his uncle would surely be pushed into a point of no return, a total destruction. Although a woman, she's obviously smart, we know that."
Tumayo ang aking tiyuhin kaya lahat kami ay napalingon sa kaniya. I am expecting that at first, he would use the shares for him to be elected as the Chairman but now that he cannot use it, I prepared for his next step.
"This is not the end of it."
I leaned against my chair and calmly stared at this hopeless old man. Letting things happen as expected.
"We are here so the Board of Directors can elect a new Chairman."
The board once again whispered to each other. Renzo tapped on his mic. "Everyone. Today, we will elect our new Chairman of the Board. The table for the nomination for the position of the Chairman is now open."
Mrs. Alajar quickly raised her hand. "I nominate of course, the daughter of the founder of this corporation, Miss Wendy Feriol."
She remained serious. Her voice is laced with conviction.. and a bit of persuasion.
"Any other nomination?"
The room was silent. Few moments later, no one bothered to nominate someone else. I glanced at my Uncle. He's so shocked that even if his share is the second highest among all the shares, no one is interested to nominate him.
"Those who are in favor of Miss Feriol to be the Chairman of the Board, please raise your hand."
I was at the endmost part of the table so I saw everyone raised their hands except for this one person.. my uncle.
Renzo once again smirked. "Mr. Feriol, your shares has a voting right. Why didn't you exercise it?"
My uncle remained silent. The tactic of destroying my reputation and secretly buying shares to secure the Chairmanship.. is not effective. I don't want to be so full of myself because it's actually Renzo who worked hard for this but I just want to give my uncle one last smirk.
Umiwas siya ng tingin at kitang kita ko ang pagkuyom ng kaniyang kamao.
Renzo smiled sweetly. "Therefore, I officially announce, Miss Wendy Feriol is now our new Chairman of the Board."
The board clapped their hands as I gently stood up. The media men with us automatically captured the historic moment. It will not take too long before we hit the headlines again.
Meaning, my uncle's plan against me has failed.
I started to walk towards the podium. Renzo and I smiled at each other before I tapped the mic in front of me. When my gaze met Jessica's, I gave her a nod as a signal. Aside from this event, Uncle's infidelity and dirty tactics will also make it to the headline. I smirked thinking of the both good and bad news.
"Everyone, thank you trusting me. Being away for five years has taught me a lot of things in life. And that is to never neglect what is already there just because we want to look for something new."
"Never did I imagine that OC can be possibly dominated by someone else. I grew up thinking that this empire will eventually be mine so I have nothing to worry. Handling OC for four years is not very easy but because of the trust that my parents and all of you granted me, I am motivated to work harder."
"And.. we are all aware that a threat has come on our way. Mr. Harold Feriol, who inherited my mother's 30 percent shares, has secretly bought shares to secure the position of the Chairmanship and as we all know, detailed information about my suicide attempt was exposed days ago."
Everyone was silent maging ang aking tiyuhin. Ngunit hindi na magawang maikubli ang kaba sa kaniyang mukha.
"And I found out, that my own uncle arranged and financed the news to defame me."
The board whispered at each other and threw him a disgusted look. Tito Harold stood up and pointed his finger at me. "How dare you accuse me of such things?! Do you have evidence?!"
I smiled. "I don't have the evidence with me.. because it's already out there in the public."
Nagawang makuha ni Vida ang kopya ng kontrata na pinirmahan ni Tito Harold para ma-release ang balita tungkol sa akin maging ang cheke na pinirmahan niya bilang pambayad sa kaniya. Isinama ang mga ito sa kaniyang public apology.
"I am thankful that the board is not easily swayed by this issue. The incident is indeed very disturbing and I regret it. So I would like to thank everyone for giving me another chance to prove myself."
The next few minutes are very calming. Inilalapag na ni Jessica ang ilang mga papeles sa harap ng mga board members habang nag-uusap-usap sila.
Hearing them discuss about how this old man schemed against me is like music to my ears. When the meeting was adjourned, the board offered their sincere condolences. When I am done conversing with all of them, I excused myself first and waited in Renzo's office.