SAN PEDRO, Laguna—Charice’s single, most lucid memory of her father had something to do with ice cream.
“Si daddy konsintidor (Dad doted on me). My mother never allowed me to eat ice cream but daddy took me to a store to buy one. I remember that was my favorite, pinipig (an ice drop covered with rice crisps).”
“As we walked, he told me that I should be a soldier someday. I didn’t know why he said that. But if I did become a soldier, I’d most probably be the shortest one,” she quipped in Filipino with a strong Laguna accent, drawing laughter from the pews.
But Charice Pempengco, 19, speaking as a daughter, rather than as the international pop star she has become, eventually brought people to tears as she delivered a moving eulogy in honor of her father at the Divine Mercy Chapel in Muntinlupa City.
Ricky Pempengco, 43, was killed in a drunken street fight in San Pedro, Laguna, on Monday. His remains were laid to rest at the Pasture of Heaven in Cabuyao, Laguna, on Saturday.
Charice was the last to speak at the chapel, which gathered about 70 close relatives and friends. At some points she broke down in tears.
“I was asking people how it felt like to have a father. We looked for him,” she said.
“We just could not find him,” she continued.
‘See me, hear me, talk to me’
“I wanted to see him, but not like this. I wish he could stand, hear me, talk to me,” Charice said.
It was during her father’s wake that Charice said she and her brother learned a lot about the father they barely knew.
One story, she said, was about the times her father watched her on television. “They said he would only keep his head down, teary-eyed.”
“Guide me. I know you’d be there to see my achievements. I might not hear you answer back, but please tell me you’re proud of me,” Charice called out.
Charice was only 3 when her parents, Ricky and Raquel, separated.
Raquel said jealousy was among the many causes of their misunderstandings as a couple.
Earlier reports said Ricky used to beat her up and got hooked on drugs and alcohol.
“I tried looking for him but for some reason we never had the chance to meet again,” Raquel said.
Raquel also gave a short message. “If I didn’t do what I did, Charice wouldn’t be here. I only chose to balance my love for your father and for you. He will always be in my heart,” she said, addressing Charice and her brother Carl, 16.
Carl, who also gave a message, said he barely remembered his dad.
“All I wanted before was to find you so I could avenge mommy and Ate (Charice). But that has all changed now. I promise you I’ll take care of them,” he said.
Ricky’s funeral drew a thousand or so onlookers, sympathizers and fans of Charice.
Ricky’s five sisters all said their brother was a good man and was not capable of hurting anybody.
In earlier interviews, his relatives said Ricky stayed in San Pedro and moved from one relative or friend to another after his separation from Raquel.
“Mababaw lang ang kaligayahan niyan. (He was easy to please.) All he wanted was coffee and P20,” Ricky’s sister, Rizalina Soriano, told the Inquirer.
Raquel appeared to be hysterical at one point as she asked onlookers to step back and give her family some room to grieve.
Charice, weeping quietly in a chair with her mother, stood and joined their relatives as they placed stems of white roses on Ricky’s casket as they bade him goodbye.
Read more here on Charice Pempengco news.