Publicly pregnant
THEN & NOW - Norma Japitana () - June 27, 2010 - 12:00am

THEN: The pregnant Janice. Written Dec. 3, 1986 — 24 years ago.

She got pregnant before she was 18 but this is not new and not so disturbing. After all this is 1986 for heaven’s sake. This kind of scenario happens a thousand times over whenever young lovers go “beyond the limit. The only difference is that she is superstar Janice de Belen of the movies, now 18, who had to announce it on television. On primetime at that.

The initial qualm at the base of the stomach was there when we heard the announcement. Such a young girl. But we appreciate the guts. Or so we thought. For it takes guts to announce to the world that you are pregnant and no marriage plans in the near future. The man responsible (or not responsible depending on whose side you are on) is disclosed as the 17-year-old Aga Muhlach, another teenage heartthrob who just happens to be her leading man in her latest movie.

And that is when the initial feeling of unease turns into some old-fashioned fear. For she is Janice de Belen with thousands of young fans who idolize her. Will they think now that one has to get pregnant to show her guts? Some jokes are getting around that even those who are under the care of Rey de la Cruz, the group considered more daring than others, are thinking that they could also get pregnant just to get that kind of attention.

Filipinos never seem to do anything halfway. So Janice got pregnant by Aga and he is not marrying her but he is standing by her. So it has been decided that she is a brave young girl. Touching some hearts, shocking some. And the subject could have ended there.

But no. Aga’s father has to be pictured as the villain because he refuses to allow his son to get married. As if any father will be overjoyed at the idea. Name one father who will sanction this. Then there will all those sickening testimonials on her recent birthday which went on ad nauseum. Please. She merely got pregnant. She did not win the Nobel Prize. It was the reverse mentality that went out of hand. Her colleagues were there in the small screen, some teary eyed, sing paeans to her as if she won an election against Marcos or she swam the English Channel.

Janice got publicly pregnant and they are turning her into a Joan of Arc, simply because she has a movie in the can and they have to promote it. People should not get derailed by the real issue. My niece thinks that if she gets pregnant like Janice they will put her on TV too. Thank God she is only five, and perhaps will have other idols after Janice.

To young people who may get carried away by these testimonials on her “condition,” please remember that if you do not have the promotion machinery, you will not get the same attention. Your parents may not take it like movie parents who have the public to worry about, and rightly so. For getting pregnant outside of marriage is still a difficult situation for any young girl and her family, in spite of all the heroics that you have been subjected to lately on this issue.

Janice is publicly pregnant and getting all the testimonials because she is in showbiz and they are bleeding the issue dry. But for other ordinary mortals there will be no bugles and there will be no drums and definitely no monument in the park.

NOW: June 16, 2010.

It has been 24 years. Janice had a busy time even after she gave birth to Igi Boy. Then she met and married John Estrada and they have all these delightful children. Then they separated. Janice is still busy with television She has a new love. John is now a very successful actor and romancing a beauty. Aga is still as busy as ever. He is married to the beautiful actress and beauty queen Charlene Gonzales and he has the adorable twins. Igi Boy got married recently and is now father of a boy. This makes Janice and Aga grandparents.

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