T he Azkals have indeed propelled their way up there in the pedestal. This is actually the first time that Filipinos became hooked to football and the Azkal-craze has even infected every single Filipino. And here we are now, waiting for the Azkal-Kuwait fight for the FIFA qualifiers so that for the first time in the history of Philippine sports, we can be part of the biggest football competition in the world. Indeed, the Azkals are now famous.
But, we all know that there is a price for being famous.
Just recently, 2009 FHM cover girl Amanda Coling appeared on national television to share her sentiments regarding the controversy surrounding the Azkals. A German football coach and former Philippine Football Federations’ (PFF) consultant named Paul Weiler claimed that four of the Azkals members- Anton del Rosario, Jason Sabio, Simon Greatwich and Neil Etheridge raped her. No formal charges have been filed against the Azkals members. She said that the issue has already affected her job as a model. In an interview, she said that she felt harassed when she was pulled out of a number at the recently concluded FHM 100 Sexiest Women event, saying that the reason behind the pull-out was because of her name being dragged in the controversy. She added that her family and her friends are greatly affected with the issue.
A few days ago, Pinoy Gossip Boy blogged about the said scandal. It was the first time I read about it. I have to say that I let it pass that day as no definite opinion came out of the blog post and quite frankly, I was not interested with the issue. What made me comment tweet after tweet is the attention and sensationalism that this issue has been receiving this afternoon.
I am all for Human Rights and Women Empowerment and rape is a serious offense against both. However, Amanda Coling hasn’t- in any way- made a definite statement. I have watched her interviews in Showbiz Central and Papparazzi and it is obvious that Pia Guanio, Mo Twister and Cristy Fermin had difficulty extracting anything of substance from her (Even Cristy Fermin said on air that “Walang patutunguhan ang interview na ito.”). I totally respect her right to be silent but it seems that her dodging tactics are not helping her to gain public sympathy.
It is understandable that she might want to keep leads that may affect any legal steps that she plans to take. However, when she was asked by Fermin a simple Yes or No question, “Na violate ka ba?”, Coling only answered that she was with the four guys the night of June 2 but she can’t comment on whether she’s violated or not. Something is fishy there!
It is very uncomfortable to see her on those interviews. She is obviously not prepared for it. If you can’t say anything and feel it might possibly jeopardize the case , then at least refuse to be interviewed. Again, these showbiz chika shows all prey for sensationalism to a certain extent and public execution will only get terrible once you can’t put your words straight.
In this era when the media is very much predatory to trial by publicity, one should be very very careful with being interviewed. Couple this with a very very inefficient justice system, one can’t help it if public persecution happens. It is totally understandable that the general public is not buying Coling’s story because of the fame Azkals are getting. Coling should have her statements straightened out first before parading herself in three different competing showbiz chika shows then actually say nothing of substance. Again, I have to reiterate that it isn’t helping her case.