Monday, October 28, 2013

AN OPEN LETTER

I would like to appeal to the respected heads of St. Paul Seminary Foundation to investigate, take hold, and reprimand Andrew Smith Villarico Gamilla, a noted alumnus of your institution. He currently serves in one of the parishes of Cavite under the Diocese of Imus and has avidly expressed the intention of pursuing the priesthood vocation.

However, with deep anguish and trepidation, I am exposing his unchristian acts of womanizing. His manipulative approach to women involves false promises of fidelity, commitment, and secrecy. In the hope that St. Paul Seminary Foundation will exert its full authority on this matter as soon as possible, I am sharing the details of my personal two-year relationship with him, 2010 – 2012, and my knowledge of his past and current escapades.

So as follows:

I met Andrew at the workplace of AE, a BPO company in Techno Hub, Quezon City. It was December 2009. He said it was his first regular job in a private institution after graduation. We get along well, and started dating. Andrew said on the onset of the relationship, “You will be my last girlfriend”. Inquiring what he means by that statement in connection to his intention of becoming a priest he said, “I would like to become a priest, but it wouldn’t hurt to have someone whom I love. And who loves me back. Malay mo pag nagdasal ka, baka di na ko tumuloy, or mapaaga ako ng alis. Kung gusto mo, magmadre ka na lang kaya?” At that time, I was in the process of overcoming depression, I have my failings at the university and for me, he was a saving grace. By January 2010, we are officially public.

The relationship lies on shaky ground, but bonded by mutual intentions. Andrew Smith Gamilla introduced me to his family, and soon after we became intimate. I asked about his past relationships, he told me he had one or two during high school, and another two or three during his stay at the seminary. I was intrigued. How did he manage to have a relationship within the seminary? He told me he had a crush on one of his professors, asked for her number, and texted her in secret during breaks. They were allowed to go out once a month, so one time; he went out with the professor to her house in Tagaytay, along Mendoza Street and spent the night with her in the same room. I asked, “Did you have sex?” He answered with a smile, “We kissed and cuddled, and what’s supposed to happen, happened.” Nowadays, the professor works in Singapore. Andrew, in early 2011, asked for some financial assistance from this woman worth 15,000 pesos, and to my knowledge, this is still unpaid.

“But did you lose your virginity from her?”

“No, it was with a high school x-girlfriend who became my textmate in the seminary. We had a date. I had some money then from the benefactors, and I took her out to the movies. She gave me a blowjob in the movie house. After which, we strolled at Baywalk. When it was getting late, I offered her that we stay in a hotel for the night. She agrees, took a bath, and we had sex.”

“So, you’re not totally a newbie,” I said, quite relieved to find out he’s not gay. At that time, I was so into him that I chose to ignore the warning signs that he is an opportunist. For me he was a dreamer. He often tells me he wants to become a bishop, and I could not help but encourage him to take that path. I thought he’s a man, and I will be his secret woman. That would be my role.

Nevertheless, I asked him if he was ever in love enough to surrender his vocation for the sake of being with the woman he loves. Andrew mentioned a certain girl from Iloilo, Christine, whom he met during one of their out-of-town trips in the seminary. She also happens to be the cousin of another seminarian, Bong. They had a two-year long distance relationship, constantly texting, and emailing. Andrew also went out with her, bringing Christine to a hotel once to have some private time. But the relationship went to ashes when Andrew was involved with another woman during his brief internship in a private sector. An officemate who was related to Christine, informed her that Andrew is openly flirting and dating an older, female officemate. Christine was angry, and decided to end the relationship. Meanwhile, Andrew decided to date this older officemate, about 30 years old, and had sex with her twice. The relationship was bound to end as the internship, so they parted ways. Nowadays, this woman is already a mother of a baby girl, reportedly impregnated by another x-seminarian. Christine, on the other hand, is a constant source of our arguments, as Andrew secretly sends text messages to Christine and to her mother, claiming to be confused and sorry. Andrew even told Christine’s mother that he doesn’t love me, just to get her texting back. But Christine has moved on, engaged to a seaman.

Least to say, Andrew Smith Gamilla is a very compelling speaker. He can tell you what you want to hear at the same time arrange the situation to his advantage. Our relationship was prolonged because he was hoping I could buy him out his situation. If I—finished my studies, or land a high-paying job, or manage the family business—then he would not have to be a priest. He can live a comfortable life as a married man. During the course of our relationship, I often catch him flirting with other girls in the office, one of them someone I get along pretty well. She will tell Precious not to believe anything that I say, and that he is planning to leave me as soon as he gets back in the seminary. As a woman in love, I made the mistake of siding Andrew and pushing Precious away. I told her to stop flirting with my boyfriend.

When I was trying to finish my studies, and I failed, Andrew said he understands and he will be there for me always. I thought he was kind, loving, and responsible. He also didn’t make it to Ateneo, and I was there to console him. From then on, our intimate relationship gets deeper. From my boarding house in Cubao, I transferred back to my parents’ residence in Makati. Andrew worked in another BPO company at Eastwood. We see each other at his residence in Quezon City as often as we could, with consent and knowledge of his parents and siblings. But still, everybody knows Andrew will pursue priesthood. We tried to explain that we are trying to be long-term companions. I go out with his clan to the beach, I attend family birthdays, and I drink with him socially. Our intimate relationship was very intense. I was so deeply inlove.

What I didn’t know is that he never stops approaching other girls. One time, I saw his flirtatious Skype messages with a female officemate. This girl is in a relationship. So I don’t know what Andrew was trying to get from it, perhaps casual sex? Nevertheless, I knew our relationship has problems. We tried to break up many times but end up together again in passionate heat.

At one point, both of us resigned from work. This was early 2011. He approached some priests, expressing his intention to enroll in the seminary. Anyway, he said he has fulfilled his responsibilities to help his brother at college. At first I thought, how selfish of him to think only of his familial responsibilities, and put me aside. He was involved in the charities of Fr. Suarez, and stayed in Alabang Hills for a while, then he is finally assigned in Cavite parishes. At first, we were okay. He said he is homesick and he misses me a lot. I still have doubts about his womanizing, but I stick with the setup, always keeping in my heart the promise he made on the onset of the relationship that I would be his last girlfriend; that he is committed to our relationship.

When his text messages become few, and cold, I thought he was just trying to concentrate at work. I told myself I will wait. When we do talk over the phone, he bickers about my situation. He said I am out of work, and I seem to have no plans. I tried to explain that I am figuring things out, and that he is also technically thinking things over. But he said he has progressed and I am not. By November, he ended the relationship saying magnanimously, “I will be your angel, who’ll check on you once in awhile.”

So I changed my numbers. Three weeks later, he reaches out to my mother and my best friend, telling them we need to talk and that he has a Christmas present for me. I called him on the phone asking for some trivial help but actually giving in to his request to communicate, and I said, “I think I am turning you into a monster. You can not pursue your vocation and have a woman on your side.” Andrew said he is hurt with what I said, and casually mentions he has a new girlfriend. I was shocked, He said, “Oh but maybe she’s just imaginary.” He was checking if I already have a job, or if my mother already gave me money to start my own business. I told him I am still in limbo. He jokes, “Will we have sex when we meet next Sunday?” I told him I don’t know, let’s see. When we finally met at the mall, he saw how sad I was and devastated, he lost his guts to ask for sex and simply stated he has a new gf. An overwhelming emotion overpowered me. I inquired when did he met her… he said they have been texting since April 2011.

I realized he was using my body to fulfill his sexual fantasies with other woman, including this textmate. Grace C. Escolano is a 23 years old call center agent whom he met over a family drinking party. He is interested with her but kept me on the side; just to make sure he has what he wants when he needs it. Andrew carefully maneuvered his actions so that he will always have a fallback. It doesn’t matter to him that his family knows me. After all, he’s a guy. It doesn’t matter to him that my family knows him. He hasn’t properly introduced himself to my parents anyway. Andrew knew he could get away with it, so he did.

Grace C. Escolano claims to be “another me”. Someone who is not interested in marriage, and is just looking for companionship. At one point, Andrew said that both of them plan to be monks. I laugh at the idea, realizing it was how our relationship was framed from the beginning. Either I have to be self-sufficient, or I become a nun. Grace could be both, or so she claims. The two seems to be unapologetic, with Andrew having an upper hand in the decision-making. He has controlled Grace’s perception of me. I couldn’t get to her senses, as much as I would like to.

Talking to Andrew for one last time today, February 21, 2012, he told me that he is willing to give Grace a better offer. He is going to study for the next two years, keeping her as his secret girlfriend, and will gracefully exit.

Andrew has some good qualities, but he obviously has a flawed disposition in life. He is determined to keep his options at work, handling them both at the same time. At the end of his second year in post-graduate studies, two different things could happen, but both of which will benefit him. He might end up with Grace, or he might just go on and continue his “calling”.

From my point of view, this is a waste of the Church resources, and deliberate manipulation of the system to work to his own advantage. Why couldn’t he just quit and live a normal life? Why does he keep on asking for charity, instead of working hard for himself?

I also notice a pattern in his relationships. He will be with a girl who conveniently fits his set-up, schedule, and location. Grace C. Escolano lives in Cubao, has no work on Mondays, and has money to burn from her call center job. Andrew can work in the parish of his benefactor’s choice, then go home every week to see his family and his girlfriend. If one or two things change in this set-up, the relationship will wane… His relationships in the past also operated in the same logic– the professor, the long-distance affair, the internship officemate, and me, whom he met on his first job. Once the girl refuses to adjust according to his needs, he will immediately look for a replacement. And the pattern repeats all over again.

I want Andrew Smith Gamilla to develop a sense of discipline, and a clean conscience. In did, the Church is no perfect institution, but he could at least save himself the trouble of guilt. I am worried he will walk the same path for the rest of his life, thinking it is all reasonable and fair.

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Saying all these with trust and confidence to St. Paul Seminary Foundation, I hope you can help him straighten out his goals before things get out of hand.