Raquel Pempengco, mother of international singer Charice, said she had accepted her estranged daughter “for who she is” and there was no need for the latter to apologize for being a lesbian.
“I had known for quite a while,” Raquel told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a phone interview on Friday. Charice confirmed it when she turned 18. “She confessed through an e-mail,” Raquel said in a press con held at their Marikina home, also on Friday.
“I went through that myself,” she said in Filipino. “But I did not turn my back on my family.” She was a lesbian, Raquel said, before she was married to Charice’s father.
She admitted asking Charice to keep her sexual preference secret. “She has a name to protect and a career to sustain,” Raquel said.
Charice has been getting a lot of press since she came out on the ABS-CBN gab fest “The Buzz” on Sunday. However, Raquel did not think that would bring Charice back to where she was just a few years ago, when she started appearing on popular US television programs like “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”
“With her [cute girl] image before,” Raquel said, “her target audience’s age was 8 to 88. That’s gone now. But she can turn it around if she reverts to her old image.”
She never wanted to speak out about their rift, which resulted in Charice leaving their home and staying with an unnamed family in Cabuyao, Laguna, Raquel said. It was Charice, she pointed out, who started publicly talking about their issues.
“I wanted to break my silence many times before, but I chose to be a mother,” she said in a statement sent to Inquirer.
The last time she and Charice talked face to face, Raquel recalled, was on April 5. She lamented, “I tried engaging her in a heart-to-heart, but she wouldn’t talk.”
Why on TV?
Thus, she said, when her daughter poured her heart out on national television, she was hurt. “I was like, ‘Do we need to do this in front of the cameras?’ Why didn’t she tell me when I tried talking to her?”
In an interview with the entertainment press at the recent Yahoo! OMG Awards presscon, Charice said she didn’t mind being seen in public with girlfriend Alyssa Quijano, of the singing group AKA Jam.
“Even if Charice disowns me,” Raquel said, “I cannot accept [Alyssa].” But she effectively confirmed her daughter’s rumored relationship with former Canadian personal assistant Courtney Blooding. “They stayed in our Tagaytay house last year,” she said, “but they heard nothing from me.”
In the statement, Raquel said the mess that her family was in right now made her want to go back to the days when they had no money. “When Charice became successful, I thought everything would turn out well,” she said. The recent events have left her feeling “abandoned,” but Raquel vowed not to stop until her family became whole again. “I want everything to be OK. I just want my children’s future to be secure.”
Was she hoping for a reconciliation soon? Raquel said it was all up to Charice. “She was the one who changed, the one who left.” Should Charice make the move, she would welcome her daughter with open arms, Raquel said. “I love her very much. She and Carl are my life.”