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Fashion and Beauty

The coast is clear: Joey de Venecia weds Karen Batungbacal

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MANILA, Philippines - After years of being embroiled in a scandalous controversy and politics, Joey de Venecia III finally found time for love and married Karen Batungbacal on Friday, Jan. 7 at the NBC Tent Garden, Fort Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City.

A song sung during the reception said it best. Love is lovelier the second time around, for both of them. IT businessman De Venecia and multinational corporation executive Batungbacal met during a blind date arranged by mutual friends.

“We hit it off almost immediately,” the bride said.That was four years ago. They decided after a short courtship to tie the knot, but fate intervened. De Venecia had become a public figure for exposing what would turn out to be the biggest scandal of the past regime. As a result, his life was under constant threat.

De Venecia postponed the wedding “until after the coast was clear,” he said.

De Venecia waged a quixotic campaign for a Senate seat last year, his first foray into politics. His father and namesake, former Speaker Joe de Venecia, said Joey just fell “a few votes short.” But the rigors of the campaign cemented the De Venecia-Batungbacal partnership as she served as his general campaign manager.

The pair married in civil ceremonies barely a week after the elections. But a church wedding was a must for both “solid” Roman Catholics.

Their biggest problem was coming up with a guest list. They settled for a heady 1,000 guests made up of friends, relatives and business associates.

Principal sponsors were led by former President Joseph Estrada, former Makati Mayor Dr. Elenita Binay, Ambassador Isabel Caro Wilson, Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile, Senator Serge Osmeña III, Fernando Zobel de Ayala, Sok An, deputy prime minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Indonesian Vice President Yossof Kalla, and Seichi Wada, a business mogul from Japan.

Cielito Macapagal Salgado, half sister of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, was likewise a principal sponsor, as was Conchitina Sevilla Bernardo, former vice mayor of Makati.

Others in the list were Lorna Perez Laurel, Oscar de Venecia, Aurora de Venecia San Jose, Antonio Meloto, Carmen Ordoveza Bautista, Bernardette Magpayo Nepomuceno, and Senator Bongbong Marcos.

Listed among the principal sponsors was the late Secretary Josefina Trinidad Lichauco, who sadly passed away before the event.

De Venecia’s teenage son Jose Jaime, who sang three songs, described his dad as his “best friend.”

Growing up in the 1980s, Joey and Karen had a special surprise for the guests. The Rainmakers regrouped for the evening to sing the pair’s favorite songs.

Besides Estrada, another former President, Fidel V. Ramos, also showed up at the reception. Top officials of the party of Joey de Venecia III — the PDP-Laban — were also present. De Venecia is the secretary general of the party, whose chairman, Vice President Jejomar Binay, also showed up to the delight of squealing fans.

AMBASSADOR ISABEL CARO WILSON

ANTONIO MELOTO

BERNARDETTE MAGPAYO NEPOMUCENO

BESIDES ESTRADA

CARMEN ORDOVEZA BAUTISTA

CIELITO MACAPAGAL SALGADO

CONCHITINA SEVILLA BERNARDO

DE VENECIA

DE VENECIA-BATUNGBACAL

DR. ELENITA BINAY

VENECIA

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