11 March 2009

Who Is Chikatime? Part 1

this article originally appeared on Victorina blog

By: Brian Gorrell

On February 2008, my blissful existence in Boracay abruptly came to a miserable ending. I had originally planned many years of island living because Boracay brought unbridled joy and unparalleled haven for me. But alas a wolf in shining armour came to dazzle, and bathe me with his charms that even Venus would have been jealous. My prince charming, Delfin Justiniano Ocampo nicknamed DJ brought me back down to a sobering reality by stealing my life savings, all of $70,000 dollars. Confused by a broken heart and stunned by feelings of desperation as well as delirious with fear and uncertainty, I had to leave all that was everything for me, Boracay, and the Philippines.

I’d just spent six months doing a vicious nail biting ‘pas de deux’ with the horrendous Montano family during which a million futile attempts to recover my life savings came up trumps. DJ’s mother Aurora and their lawyer "taunted" me for months, buying time until I had to leave the country. Aurora seemed desperate to shut me up, but not desperate enough to give me the money her son stole. The Montanos ignored my pleas when I was in Manila, and appeared to believe DJ’s improbable story even as they seemed intent on spiriting him out of the country for greener pastures in California.

They had no idea I would start the blog to seek justice. And so here we are 1 year later.

DJ simply left the country, away from his crimes and the shame it brought the whole Montano Clan. Of course it’s not at all uncommon in the Philippines to leave the country in disgrace only to return years later with a ‘clean’ slate.

It was so obvious to me when I watched their ‘performance’ on Korina Sanchez’s show. Everyone I know who watched them squirmed, while all these lies came flying out. Lies do stain.. Hopefully, time will not bleach it out of our consciousness, and as long as I am alive, I promise that it will never be.

Aurora threatened to have me deported because I am HIV positive...
Aurora fought DJ’s battle. I knew then what I was up against. DJ used my HIV when he wanted my money. He used it to blistering effect, telling me he would always look after me and so on. And now his mother was threatening to have me deported because of it. My head was spinning. It really was shock and awe prior to their Korina appearance.

And so my fight began.

DJ still had my stolen life savings and there were no signs of him returning it anytime soon. I had to do something drastic. I had to tell people what he did to me. And so I began to ask for help among the circle of friends and associates I came to believe were friends.

Yet despite my hunger for justice I still questioned myself if I would be able to fight. Am I doing the right thing? The answer came while having lunch with my great friend on Boracay. It was February 11, 2008 when I first heard of the Chikatime gossip site.

Until that time, I’d never told a soul about my unfortunate situation, except for my dearest friends on the island and some people in Manila who needed to know. But word was getting around and some people were writing asking if I was alright.

The first person i’d told was my best friend Gorgeous (not her true name) who is extremely well known and highly respected on the island. She was also the very first person I confided to about DJ stealing my life savings, back in September 2007, so she was VERY up to speed with the story of Montano. .And it did not surprise her at all that I had yet to recover any money from him after six months of pleading with DJ and his family. She could sense my fear that I would never get it back. And I remember her telling me to be prepared for that. Indeed, she was right. She actually predicted that he would flee the country in disgrace. She was right again.

The SECOND person I told was another incredible Manila mate who I’ll call Slumdog (started as a Facebook friend). You see, they’re best friends, so they knew what to do and they rallied around me big time. Together, the two of them got me through the toughest week of my life. They supported me and loved me and continue to do so to this very day. And since then, I’ve been able to return the favor to both of them. The three of us are great friends and always will be.

I knew a few people whom I’d mistakenly believed were my friends.. But they had abandoned me. I had nothing. It really was the worst experience of my life being hauled away from the hotel by the police in a foreign country. It was quite shocking to my system. I still have nightmares about that night and it will continually haunt me for the rest of my life.

And I’ll never forget Celine Lopez and Jackie Antonio as they watched me while my world crumbled before their eyes. And they were smiling and giggling. I remember screamming at them in the hotel lobby. As I looked CELINE in the eye, I saw right through to the other side.
The night after the trumped up ‘altercation’ at the hotel with Montano, Gorgeous and Slumdog met me at Martini Bar after I hysterically contacted them the previous day.DJ had also run off with the entire contents of my hotel safe (250,000 pesos, my plane ticket and passport, my brand new $400 shoes, my teeth whitener and two bottles of duty free perfume (one of which DJ was going to get anyways!), not to mention a VERY expensive antique Egyptian gold necklace from my mom which cost her way too much money...I told DJ how expensive the necklace was only because he asked why it was in a special box. He knew to take that piece when he bolted out the door with everything else.

Gorgeous and Slumdog got me quite drunk the night after DJ, Marcel Crespo, Jackie Antonio Cohn and Celine Lopez tried to destroy my life at the Intercontinental Hotel. It’s amazing how a few martinis can chase your troubles away. These two very special friends spent the entire night dabbing my sore red eyes, and pumping booze down my throat. They believed me 100% of course which also helped; because they had heard all about Montano and his scamming ways and they were not at all surprised. It was so nice to have friends that night that just supported me 100% and could comprehend my situation even if they were unable to actually do anything about it. I was on my own and I knew that from day one.

Months after our night at the bar, and just a couple of days after our lunch date, Gorgeous and I were at Café Del Mar at Station 2, relaxing while sipping our coffees and lamenting of course about my predicament. It was then that she ‘introduced’ me to the gossip blog Chikatime and suggested that I write ‘them’ and tell them about my dilemma with DJ Montano. She opened her computer and showed me the site. It was a crazy idea I thought and dismissed it immediately. But as we had a gander at the site and of course I hardly knew a soul on it, my feelings began to change. I decided to write Chikatime and try to get my story out there.

And I did.

Are you prepared for the truth?

Who really was Chikatime?
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