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Philippine Sun Part 2

Facing The Truth
For days, I thought about how to tell Michael bout the mess. He had never met Grace. I could have made her up to extort money from him. One late afternoon, I got him to sit with me in a coffee shop where I told him everything. He did not say anything for a long time; he just looked pensive. After Ive told him everything, he remained composed and said he was not mad at me, but at Grace. His exact words were: Im not mad at you but Im mad at her because she cheated you. For Michael, it wasnt about money but principle. I was grateful for his understanding. I knew he was a kind person but he was also not a fool. It was okay, he said. But he will sue Grace. This was the part when things got uglier.

Michael only asked me to help him find a good lawyer who could represent him in a civil case. I accompanied Michael to a prominent law firm in Makati that evaluated the case worth pursuing. Before a civil case was properly filed, I myself warned Grace and our mother of Michaels intention to sue her. The law firm that Michael hired also sent her written communication informing her of the impending suit. Grace also hired a lawyer to defend her property.

By this time, almost one year had passed since the condo unit was leased to Michael and Gina. In the months leading to the filing of a civil case against Grace, I sought support from my family, who I hoped would help resolve the situation with Grace. To be fair to them, I knew some of them tried to talk some sense into to Grace but she wouldnt listen. Expecting support from my clan, I asked our mother to testify in court on the agreement between Grace and I, but she complained she was too old to participate in a court hearing. I also asked our brother Sonny to testify in court for me. He refused at first but his wife said it would be okay because he would only be asked about what he knows. Then he agreed to testify.

The Betrayal
Later on, I heard that they decided that no one in the family would testify in the case because if Grace loses, millions would be lost. I was frustrated and disappointed. I was expecting the family to root for me on this one, to even force Grace to admit her deceit and make things right. Or maybe, a gesture of concern for me, for the trouble I would go through. With their decision to give more weight to money than my honor, I felt like an outcast.

Michael, a stranger I met only months before, understood the situation, how the family could fall apart if he pursues the case. He offered to have the proceedings stopped. But I said no. He had the right to recover what was taken from him.

Instead of finding understanding from my family where I expected to find it, I found the understanding from a stranger who was also the aggrieved party. This triggered so much emotion in me. You get hurt the most when youre expecting and you best appreciate things where you dont expect to find any blessings in them.

Now, at this point, Grace expressed intention to reach a settlement with Michaels lawyer. Our brother Sonny also told me that Grace was feeling remorse. Her son was just diagnosed with autism. I was moved. Its true that a person who suddenly finds herself in a bad situation reaches a realization. But I found out later on that Grace had padlocked the condominium unit. Michael was in Europe at that time and Gina was busy taking care of their newly purchased house. I found out through the administration office that Grace sent someone to have the condo locked on her behalf as the registered owner.

Michaels lawyer demanded for the return of possession of the condo to his client and a proper inventory of Michaels possessions that were still inside the padlocked condo. But all efforts were futile. Michael eventually filed a civil suit against Grace. Grace must have thought she had no liability. She must have forgotten that the lease contract was binding because she signed it. At this point, Michael had grounds for suing.