Blessing in disguise for former celebrity drug user

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RONNIE CARRASCO 3RD

RONNIE CARRASCO 3RD

NOT only did his voluntary surrender make him come out with clean, guiltless hands, but Cebuano singer Jay-R Siaboc’s act of turning himself in at the Toledo City police station in the western part of the island province on July 12 also spawned a good number of TV guestings for him thereafter.

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The 29-year-old singer-turned-actor—who arrived in Manila a week later, and went live on Radyo Singko’s Cristy FerMinute (CFM)—was among more than 520 drug suspects who confessed to drug use.

“I surrendered to clarify that I was a drug user before but I was never a pusher,” he declared in Filipi-no.

Jay-R, who placed second to Yeng Constantino in ABS-CBN’s Pinoy Dream Academy Season 1 in 2006 was accompanied by his wife Tricia and their three-year-old daughter Hailey during this radio inte-riview.

“After I surrendered, GMA’s morning news program Unang Hirit asked me for an interview, and I also granted one to Ted Failon of ABS-CBN. Just now, I finished an interview with Luchi Cruz-Valdez of TV5.”

Supposedly, Jay-R was scheduled to fly back to Cebu after his three straight guestings but Fermin—who brokered his interview with Valdes—insisted that he rebook his departure the next day. Fermin had Jay-R’s family billeted overnight at Hotel Rembrandt.

Former drug user Siaboc with wife Tricia and daughter Hailey

Former drug user Siaboc with wife Tricia and daughter Hailey

So, what prompted him to surrender? “Actually, I don’t think you can technically call what I did as a sur-render. I just heeded the advice of some town mates to go to the police since I was apparently on a watch list. I asked them how was that possible when I had stopped using drugs for three years already, and like I said, I was never a pusher.”

He attributed his drug dependence in the past to severe career-related depression. It wasn’t long af-ter he won albeit second place in PDA that he got a deluge of offers to do regular TV series, his last biggest break being Palos, which was his solo starrer.

“But after Palos, that was it. I had no more offers. I gradually fell into depression and eventually decid-ed to go home to Toledo City,” Jay-R related without putting the blame on whoever was supposed to take responsibility for his derailed career path.

But what he hoped to be a better life ahead of him back in Cebu was one of near-mendicancy. Almost in tears, Jay-R recounted, “Just so my family would have food to eat, I would beg with bar owners to give me a set to sing and earn money. I didn’t care how much they’d give me.

“We also opened up a sari-sari store but we had to close it down because we needed money to take care of my sick parents. I fell deeper into depression, and that was when I started doing drugs.”

Soon after, Jay-R met Tricia by chance. “She was a friend of a friend of mine. She walked right past me and I said, ‘Wow, she’s a beauty!’ I courted her, and eventually we got together, and she got preg-nant.”

Jay-R Siaboc is a graduate of ABS-CBN’s ‘Pinoy Dream Academy’ Season 1

Jay-R Siaboc is a graduate of ABS-CBN’s ‘Pinoy Dream Academy’ Season 1

It was after Tricia gave birth in 2013 that Jay-R had completely shunned from drugs.

“I was looking at my wife and our baby—especially our baby—and I asked myself what kind of a future I’d be giving her if I was an addict. I also didn’t want her to be embarrassed that her father is a drug user when she grows up. From then on, I cleaned up my act.”

Before Fermin’s radio program that day drew to its close, Jay-R’s current business manager who was also in tow received a text message saying that ABS-CBN’s big cheeses Johnny Manahan and Mariole Alberto eagerly wanted to set an appointment with the Cebuano singer.

As her gesture of support, Fermin immediately contacted a close friend and budding film producer former Pandi Mayor Enrico Roque of Bulacan to consider Jay-R to be part of the cast of the latter’s ini-tial venture—a remake of a classic Chiquito movie to star Vhong Navarro.

In agreement, we all honestly believed that Jay-R’s once-drugged life and eventual surrender proved to be, in fact, a blessing in disguise.

* * *

Congratulations to Alliance In Motion Global company, which marked its 10th year in the industry aptly themed, A Decade of Passion, Service, and Excellence.

The first of the three-day fete launched a whole day training that highlighted intensive product awareness and presentations with keynote speakers from around the globe. It was followed by an event at the Philippine Arena where members from all over Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the US were wowed by Filipino artists, led by Ely Buendia, Bamboo and KZ Tandingan.

The celebration culminated at the grand ballroom of Solaire Hotel Resort and Casino where formally clad guests were entertained by Julie Ann San Jose.

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