Although they hadn’t been on speaking terms since Judy Ann Santos told long-time manager Alfie Lorenzo she was moving on from his stable in August 2016, she continued to monitor the veteran showbiz figure’s health condition and personal situation until he suffered a heart attack and passed on early morning Tuesday.
“It didn’t mean that I no longer cared for him and ended our personal relationship. It was just the manager-talent relationship that officially ended. Tito Alfie was and has always been family,” Santos told The Manila Times on the first night of Lorenzo’s wake at Arlington Chapels in Quezon City.
Juday—Santos’ nickname in the biz—was in fact in constant touch with Lorenzo’s personal assistant all through the past months, up to the time he was rushed from Solaire Resort and Casino to San Juan de Dios Hospital in Pasay City where doctors tried to revive him.
Even before she could grieve that Tuesday morning, Santos immediately saw to the details of the two-day wake at Arlington Memorial Chapels, the cremation on Wednesday night, and the transport of Lorenzo’s ashes Thursday morning to the Carmelite Monastery and Church in Angeles City, before the final interment at his hometown in Porac, Pampanga.
On hand to help Santos was her brother Jeffrey whose career was also managed by Lorenzo, their mother Carol, and several members of the deceased’s family.
Known to shed tears and weep at the drop of a hat, Santos—often regarded as the superstar of her generation—told The Manila Times at the time of this interview that she was unable to shed a single tear since Lorenzo’s passing.
“My first reaction was shock, then sadness. Then I had to quickly decide to arrange everything. I don’t know when will the tears fall,” she shared.
But fall they did after delivering her eulogy Wednesday night where she remembered her Tito Alfie as a loving and caring father figure.
Water under the bridge
Santos further told The Manila Times that whatever misunderstanding she had with her former manager was “water under the bridge a long time ago,” and that her decision to move on from their professional relationship was entirely her own decision.
“I just want to clarify that my husband’s manager had nothing to do with it. Naiintindihan naman yun ni Tito Alfie na my situation was already different. My priority has always been the kids since I got married. Even the projects I accept, the schedules have to work around the schedules of my children. I have to be with them especially during important occasions and moments of their lives,” she said.
Santos has a brood of three with Ryan Agoncillo—Yohan, Lucho and Luna.
She recalled that after the much-ballyhooed management separation, she decided not to say a word to the press even if Lorenzo issued a lengthy statement.
“Sanay na rin naman ako kay Tito Alfie. Diretso kung magsalita, pero after niya maglitanya inaamo ka rin naman, kaya ‘cariño brutal’ ang tawag ko sa mga banat niya. So when he said na hindi ako naging totoo nung nagsabi ako na gusto ko nang mag-solo dahil hindi ako umiyak, hinayaan ko na lang,” she related.
Despite everything, Santos said it is a privilege for her and Jeffrey to be able to take care of the wake and funeral arrangements, intimating also that Lorenzo did not have any form of insurance—health, life or memorial plan—as he was somewhat averse to those things.
As she continued to remember her Tito Alfie, Santos said his death must not be mourned, but instead be a celebration of life.
“He’s 78. Marami nang nauna na mas bata pa sa kanya. Ayaw niyang pumunta sa mga burol. Nagkikita na lang kami sa isang lugar para sa pagpag. He always said na kapag namatay siya, ayaw niyang ibuburol siya dahil ayaw niyang nakahiga siya sa kabaong at gusto niyang i-cremate siya agad. Come to think of it, he lived a full life and he died in the place he considered home,” the actress further said.
Finally, the actress posted on Instagram on Wednesday:
“Rest in peace now Tito … wala ka na sa casket.. hindi mo na ko kelangan talakan… wish granted. Na ah…maraming salamat sa lahat lahat… paki akap ako ng mahigpit kay nanay binay… at sa lahat po ng nakiramay at nagpadala ng mga bulaklak maraming maraming salamat po… to mayor Herbert Bautista, Goldilocks at sa bumubuo po ng PAMI thank you so much for the food and sponsoring the mass for tonight… i’m sure nakangiti ng nakapameywang si tito alfie nagyon..”