By MARYA SALAMAT
MANILA – The long journey of Rep. Iggy Arroyo’s body from London to Manila and then to Negros had turned more telenovela-like than the Corona impeachment trial, as the media avidly followed the two women, or the “two camps,” who competed for the rights to bring Rep. Arroyo’s body home, lay him to rest and while doing so, receive the sympathy of those who would come to offer their last respects.
The media coverage of the death in London of Rep. Iggy Arroyo has focused on the tug-of-war over who is the “rightful” wife. On the one hand there is the “legal” wife whose claim to being that apparently rests on the slowness of annulment proceedings in the Philippines, or to the glaring lack of a divorce law in this country. On the other hand, there is the “common law” wife who had lived with Rep. Iggy in recent years and who had cared for him when he was dying abroad.
Until now, even after his body was already flown to Negros Occidental, talks, or the media reports, center on the tension between the two wives.
But Rep. Iggy ‘Pidal’ Arroyo was no ordinary good-looking rich lawmaker – he was the brother of former First Gentleman Miguel “Mike’ Arroyo whom Rep. Iggy extricated from culpability in some celebrated cases of corruption in the past. With his death, his brother Mike has lost a crucial ally. Who would come out now and claim the blame for irregularities for which Mike Arroyo remains implicated? No thanks to the overblown treatment of the drama and entertainment between the two women in his brother’s life, who was apparently a serial monogamist except that his ex has not yet come to terms with it, Mike Arroyo was somehow able to face the press without the need to explain his wealth. Or parry accusations that he may still be trying to evade charges here by flying abroad.
Macho, macho world
Filipino women should be angered at their treatment in this Pidal body brouhaha. Their sisters are used to provide entertainment in a trivialized life of a lawmaker, and to also provide a cover for a former first family who is still facing charges over corruption and election scandals.
So as not to belittle the suffering of women as exemplified by Iggy’s past wife and current wife, legislators should rush to pass a divorce law. That would have resolved the past wife’s evidently still unresolved claims on the estate of Rep. Iggy Arroyo, and perhaps also unresolved demands for the rightful share of her daughter from his estate. That would have also prevented her from sticking her neck out and becoming a butt of joke by other people, in calling herself as his “legal wife” when actual practice for years had contradicted that.
A divorce law could have prevented as well the underlying slur which current wives have to face every time they are referred to as “common law wife.”
The fact that only a few lawmakers and politicians in this country feel compelled to correct the problem that has generated a telenovela tug-of-war between two women, and while most seemed content to just be entertained by these women’s struggles as Mike’s helicopters and bank accounts abroad seem forgotten, shows clearly the extent of lobbying and pressures that women have to do to make these men see sense.