Singer-songwriter Nicole Asensio is appalled by online rumors that depict her recently departed father as a victim of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. The rumor claims that Nicole’s father, musician Manuel “Noli” Asensio III was abducted, drugged and killed. It is being attributed to a certain Ana Segovia, who relayed it in a private message to Lydia Paredes, wife of former Apo Hiking Society member Jim Paredes. According to a later post of Jim himself, his wife sent the message to several friends as she was trying to confirm if the news was true.
The message eventually found its way to retired singer-comedienne Cynthia Patag, who posted it on her Facebook page in an article format with the heading, “HE WAS NOT POOR by Lydia M. Paredes.” As Patag’s post became viral, Iwi Laurel, wife of Noli and mother of Nicole, was prompted to set the record straight in a post on her Facebook page Sunday and categorically stated that Noli was “not abducted, drugged and killed” and certainly “not a victim of ‘Duterte’s war on drugs’.” “Forgive me for saying this, but you were not in the ER during his last moments and we never appointed you to be the family’s spokesperson. So please, do not use Noli’s passing for any of your political motives and schemes,” Iwi added. “If you are a good person, you will stop spreading all these lies. If you have compassion, you will understand that we are grieving for someone we love very much who was a good person and we miss him terribly…And when you feel the urge to post anything again, maybe ask yourself if your words are true, necessary and helpful.” Cynthia and Jim are known supporters of the Liberal Party.
While Iwi tried to sound as calm, collected and courteous while asking for prayers from those who spread the false rumors, Nicole did not hold back in expressing her outrage in her own post.
“My father died with me in Makati Medical Center ER… Right beside me at his final hours… I am appalled at the yellow idiots who have gossiped and gossiped about his life and death, plotting to use his death to fuel their political schemes. Some of these Yellowtards were my friends… Some are my own blood relatives. Read my mom’s post. Swallow it. Close your mouth when you chew. If you were so concerned about my dad or the family, why didn’t you pay your respects? Thought so. It’s all about you. You’re not helping yourselves, the grieving family or the country by using my father’s death for your own vanity. LET ME LOVE AND HONOR HIM IN SILENCE.”
An earlier post by Noli’s brother, Dennis Asensio, a doctor who is based in the U.S., mentioned that prior to his demise, Noli had been complaining about fever and difficulty in swallowing. Dennis would later learn that Noli is in the emergency room of the Makati Medical Center and had gone into septic shock and cardiac arrest.
As Dennis inquired with the ER physicians on what could have caused his brother to be in such an emergency state, the doctors quickly ruled out drugs. Dennis posted that the doctors tried to resuscitate his brother for around 40 minutes before he finally gave his consent to “let Noli rest” when his heart failed to respond.
Prompted to explain his wife’s side, Jim messaged Nicole privately and apologized for the hurt and pain this has caused the family. He gave a more detailed explanation in a Facebook post directed at Iwi and Nicole. “After you expressed your concern to me via PM about Cynthia Patag posting message publicly, I immediately called her and asked how it is that the message became public. Cynthia told me – here comes the pass the blame – she thought it was sent to her because the sender wanted it public. Bottom line was, it was not meant to be public or even editorialized with a title ‘HE WAS NOT POOR’. I immediately asked her to take it out,” he wrote.
“My wife and I had NO INTENTION whatsoever of politicizing your dad’s death. The message from Ana Segovia who claimed to be your relative clearly said your dad was a victim of Duterte’s war on drugs. It was ALREADY political when we received it. If we wanted to politicize it, we would have posted it publicly ourselves. It never even appeared on my wife’s time line…I contacted you out of pure concern and sympathy as a friend, colleague…We are continuing prayers for your dad and the people he loved and cared for.”
Meanwhile, Cynthia Patag has not posted anything on the subject since deleting the controversial post that has caused an uproar on social media.