- Bianca Roxas
Photo by John Paul Belleza on Unsplash
"Danny became an aswang," Imelda Dela Cruz, Mayor Danny Espinoza's (then) fiancee
was the first to blow the whistle on the young mayor who was once being groomed to take
on the top positions of the Philippine government by the powerful left-wing political party- Kasamahan ng Mamamayan para sa Demokrasya (KDP). Imelda claims that when she tried to surprise her (then) relationship partner at his luxurious, resort-style home,she instead was caught off guard to find him with sharp horns on his head, black fur all over his famously well-maintained body, and long fangs dripping with sticky saliva. He then allegedly tried to eat her- in the literal sense- in her new, red La Senza lingerie. She survived by smartly whacking him on the head with the champagne bottle she had at hand.
At that time, when she came forward to the press, it could be recalled that the starlet received critical backlash as the majority of the public sided with the Espinoza camp. Many of the mayor's supporters took to social media to declare the whole scandal as another Samson and Delilah case.
"I was 25 years old. I was famous for 2 sexy films. For the record, I did them because our family needed the money to pay off my dad's heart surgery and my brother's tuition to CSB. My past made it so easy for them to play the angle that I was just another gold digger who seduced a good man. They said Danny cut his support to me, and I was either blackmailing him or I was being paid off by his political rivals. I think it's typical. In the Philippines, if you're a young, pretty girl, people here only want to hear you be outspoken about your sex life, your beauty regiment, or your artisanal cooking recipes," Imelda shares, "I really do believe that Danny was a godly man when I met him, but something happened to him when he was in office." When asked if Imelda is currently accepting suitors after her devastating broken engagement, she refused to give a comment, and ended the brief interview.
"Mayor Danny and I go way back in children's church," Ed Maypa, the former Chief of Staff/ Executive Assistant of Mayor Danny Espinoza recounted, "We were as close as brothers. The man told me everything because we were accountability partners. I was the first person he took aside to offer the position in his team because he said he needed someone he could trust to help him make a difference in the country. I said yes, and I quit my corporate job gladly because I believed in him and his vision. If you remember, he regularized thousands of municipal employees. He gave out scholarships to deserving students left and right complete with meal and transportation subsidies. There was a city-wide clean-up of the streets and the construction of the city's first public parks and public libraries. There were free medical and dental services for the indigent. Palarong Paranaqueno with able-bodied and PWD categories. You name it. All sorts of projects I am proud to say I was a part of. The only thing bad about him was probably his poor taste in women. I remember the exact moment when Danny started to change. He told me that Mr. Ronny Chen of the Chen & Sons Holdings had coursed an invitation for dinner through Imelda Dela Cruz with whom he had started a courtship with. He asked me if he should accept."
On one hand, Ronny Chen was hinting that he wanted to back him up financially if he wanted to progress to become congressman or senator. On the other hand, neither Mr. Chen's personal life nor his professional life brought any glory to God. We prayed about it together and I thought we decided that God did not want him to accept the invitation. About a month went by, Danny disappeared out of thin air for over a week. We had a hard time explaining to people why he had flaked on his meetings and appointments. We didn't know where he was. All of us, especially his mother, were worried sick. When we finally reached him, he was not lucid.
On what felt like the millionth call, he finally answered. I said, 'Hello, Bro, where are you?'
'I went to dinner with.... with Chen.' I still remember he sounded so terrible. The best way to describe it was he was gasping every word. 'Mel made me. Something bad happened.'
'What happened? Where are you?'
'Chen made me eat a black chick.'
'A black what?''
“There was a... A woman...Beautiful. Very beautiful. Long hair. They...they made her...Sit on my lap! And! And they cut her into two with a bolo! Blood everywhere!”
'The...the woman…S-she threw up a black chick…and blood… In my mouth!' 'A what?'
'A black chick!'
By that time, we had kept him on the phone long enough for the security team to triangulate his location to an abandoned rice field. Thankfully the people who lived there didn't recognize him and thought he was just another wandering lunatic. We kept all of this quiet from the media. We knew they’d have a field day with that stuff.
Mayor Danny's own mother, “Mommy Bella” Espinoza corroborates this story: "The moment I saw that girl I knew she wasn't Christian as she claims to be. She was always commandeering him to do things. Accompany me here. Promote this for me. Buy me a bag. Imelda was the one who pressured Dan to go see that evil man according to Ed. I knew she must have been using her body to manipulate him. The next thing I know my son went missing.
I was worried that someone with bad intentions had ended his life. I was relieved when Ed called to say they'd found him. I asked them to take me to his whereabouts. My poor boy was covered head to toe in dirt and grease. He was naked down to his boxer shorts.
'Anak, what happened to you,' I was crying and crying. He was so dirty, but I still insisted on holding my baby.
'Mama, mama I've become an aswang. ' He kept saying. 'They fed me a black chick. The beautiful girl was an..an aswang! They killed her and fed me her black chick, now I'm the aswang! The chick is in my belly. It's walking around! Can you hear it tweeting mama?'
We thought he was delirious. He looked so crazy. It was so painful to watch yet I was relieved we found him alive and in one piece. Little did we know that Dan was better off dead with what he became. Mind you, I'm not confirming that my son did become an aswang, but what he became because he was with that immoral little gold-digger, Imelda, was monstrosity."
Both Mommy Isabella and Ed Maypa are currently battling Imelda Dela Cruz in court for libel, cyberlibel, and slander for their statements as recorded by major news networks and publications.
Mr. Ronny Chen's response to his name being dragged into the whole issue is his characteristic shrug and lopsided grin.
"Aswangs? Black chicks? Come on. It's an urban legend, a stupid wife's tale. Just as untrue as that Alice Dickson story about the twin snakes in Robinsons. I just knew Danny Espinoza very briefly. I was interested in supporting his political career because I thought he stood for something good. My secretary is friends with Imelda, so I asked her to pass an invitation along. He accepted. Danny came to the house. My wife likes to do themed dinners. Our new maid could do exquisite Capiz cuisine, so we had a Capiz delicacies themed dinner. I'll admit that we served him a day-old chick as a starter, but that's the only true part ah." Mr. Cheng seemed to find this funny as he took the time to laugh. "He seemed like a good, upright guy naman. Not particularly bright -- I have to say, but very promising. I don't know what happened to him. I was going to invest until I heard these crazy things in the news. What a waste. Maybe he started doing drugs."
“An aswang is immortal. In order for an aswang to die, they must transfer their power to a new human vessel. The power gets transferred through mouth to mouth transmission of what I call a medium. The medium looks like a small, black bird about this size,” Antonio Deocareza, the Head Researcher of Philippine Folklore of the University of the Philippines shared. The size he indicated was about a dangkal.
"Danny tested negative on his drug tests. Mr. Chen is wrong about that. We admitted him to a private clinic to have him rehabilitated because he had become so unstable. He was never the same when he came out, " Ed Maypa continues., "He went back to work with us, but I was no longer his accountability partner. He started to lie to my face, and I was very hurt."
"I went to Pastor Ipil and requested him to speak to Dan. After that incident. He was no longer my..my son. Dan would still accompany me to worship service every Sunday, but the Holy Spirit no longer moved inside him. He had become so...secretive and unreadable. I just knew he no longer prayed to the Lord, " Mommy Isabella mentioned, wiping the corner of her eyes with her handkerchief. "He wasn't my son. If I could go back in time, I would have begged my unico hijo not to enter politics."
Pastor Ipil has declined to give an account of his talk with Mayor Danny.
"Sir started to bring home pregnant women night after night," His mayordoma shared, "He didn't think we knew, but we knew because one of the younger maids used to stick around behind the bushes of the main house even after sir requested privacy because the wifi was stronger than in the maids' quarters. At first, we thought it was just a fetish."
"His leadership was excellent at first, but we started to see larger and larger funds being siphoned off to questionable projects. Projects were awarded to contractors with undeserving bids," The municipal treasurer quipped. "At first, I didn't think about it because I wanted to believe in the goodness of Danny Espinoza. I think everyone wanted to believe in the fairytale of a good government official. I was dismayed and scared when I started receiving hundreds of thousands in cash as gifts from the mayor. When the bastard got caught, I returned every peso back. "
"We saw proposals being passed for educational projects, building projects, and all sorts of projects. I'll confirm that during that time we did not purchase much of anything nor did we talk to many suppliers or contractors. I'm ashamed to admit we kept quiet because we were receiving gifts from the mayor." A staff member from the municipal purchasing department who wishes to remain unnamed added. “To give you an idea, I was able to buy my parents a house with the Espinoza money. I can’t give the money back.”
“I don’t believe any of the rumors. If aswangs are real, Mayor Danny was not one of them. He was the only Mayor I knew who would come to our Sitio to kiss our babies and teach the teenagers to be pro-life.” Aling Hilda, a barangay captain, testified. “He used to give a thousand pesos to each mother who let him smell their baby’s head too.”
"We never saw any of the pregnant women the next morning, so we thought that the girl was lying, But two or three of the house staff got curious and decided to see if she was telling the truth. She was. I myself was one of the three who camped out in the bushes. We started to get scared when he started to lock his quarters and allow no one to clean inside. He started to let go of the house staff one by one. We realized with horror that none of the women came out."
"I personally think that the people around him ruined him." Senator Jack Devina reached out to give his statement. He had been a friend to the rising star of a mayor. Both had many parallels in their career. Both were young, successful, and well-respected in their field of work."
"Both were considered handsome and exciting men in the country. He put on his lawyer’s cap. "Let's look at the cast of characters here. We have a crazy ex-girlfriend. We have an obsessed mother and a rumored gay best friend, both of whom are religious nuts who want to keep him on a leash. I told Danny he could be a good match against me as president one day if he'd only create healthy boundaries with these people and not let them run his life. There are certain things a man has to do that is not everyone’s definition of ethical, but it's how the world works.” When the word aswang was mentioned, the senator had this to say, “The whole aswang issue is pure bull. Let's stop talking about it. I'm a rumored tikbalang myself. The truth is I just have a large penis."
"I blew the whistle on him because he became corrupt and evil. Even his mother knows it. She was the one who told me about how he had given her access to a number of foreign accounts that were in the names of people she did not know." Ed Maypa was openly weeping at this point. "I reported him. He tried to have me and the other witnesses killed multiple times. I asked him point blank why I was always finding bombs under my cars and thugs at my doorstep. I gave my life to Dan but see what he did."
"I'll admit it. I asked Pastor Ipil to do an exorcism on my only son. I asked the Pastor how it went, and he told me he had come face to face with pure evil. Pastor just stopped talking to me altogether since then. He's been avoiding me. All of this hurts. I wish I had a husband or I had other children to share my pain with."
"For the record, Danny is not the only aswang in the government. Senator Jack Devina has an ex-fling by the alias of Wendy Jimenez. Once her witness protection papers are in order, she will testify that she almost bled to death when Jack raped her multiple times when he was in his Tikbalang form. The only reason why she's still alive is because she pretended to be dead.
I think the only reason why his wife's still alive is because he doesn't sleep with her anymore. Anyway, my theory is the whole government is full of aswangs masquerading as civil servants. Didn't the very children of the Speaker of the House of Representatives leak photos of him as a baby tiyanak? I wouldn’t be so sure to discredit them as photoshopped" Imelda Dela Cruz said in another interview. Currently, she can no longer be contacted to elaborate as she has gone under the witness protection program herself.
“I’ll vouch that aswang walk among us. I was invited once to a small village in Siquijor that claimed to be holding an aswang captive. When I got there, the aswang turned out to be a young lady with exquisite beauty. I was shocked to witness the barbaric torture they subjected her day in and day out. I couldn’t believe that she was an aswang but, I saw with my own eyes that every time they sliced her open, she would be in one piece again a few hours later. She was begging to die.” The folklore expert mentioned.
"Everything Madame Imelda said was true all along," The mayordoma confirms, "He was an aswang. We couldn't take it anymore. Foul stench was coming out of his quarters. So, when he was gone in one of his business trips, the three maids and I, along with two drivers, a security guard, and the gardener opened his quarters. We were sickened to find the corpses of many pregnant women. All of them were eaten by the belly. We took pictures and called the police. I still throw up every day.”
Mayor Danny Espinoza was arrested in a wedding wherein he was the designated ninong. The police politely waited for the picture-taking of the ceremony to end before taking the mayor in.
In his famous mugshots, Mayor Danny Espinoza was as handsome, dashing, and dignified as ever. He was released on bail the very same day, but his life had come under the magnifying glass of journalists and netizens.
The celebrated political star was not as blameless as everybody would have liked to believe.
Summons for his hearings started arriving. Pressure was building on the young mayor, and he was not handling it well. He became a shut in and a recluse. He fell behind on his duties as a mayor. Mayor Danny was claiming that he had a medical condition and missed all but two hearings.
“Dan became at large. He disappeared again," Mommy Isabella concludes. “People were whispering that I’m harboring him somewhere, but I am not. Even if I would like to because I am his mother, even I don’t know where he’s gone. I sleep better at night believing Dan’s already dead, and he’s with Jesus. He doesn’t have to deal with the evil of this world anymore. I think I’m also dead along with my son. He was such a sweet boy growing up. It was just him and I. Surely, if he was still alive, he wouldn't forget about his poor mother?”
"He was last spot-checked into a sketchy hotel near the airport. I'm not confirming nor denying that Danny became an aswang, but the policeman who found him there radioed to his unit that the mayor had horns on his head. His body was covered in black fur, and he had big fangs! " Ed shared.
"We found the mayor dead. He had sliced his own belly with a bolo. It is a clear suicide case. No autopsies needed." PNP SPO4 Geraldo Catacutan, the officer who found Mayor Espinoza, relayed the unfortunate news, “It is not my position to confirm or deny that Mayor Danny is an aswang. ”
“They sent tita abag of his ashes and some of his things after the news broke out,” Ed stated. “Everyone knows Danny’s not dead. It was all staged. I’m begging tita to have the ashes examined, but I think she is still in too much pain. My best guess is he’s abroad just biding his time.”
“The diaspora of our aswang to foreign lands is what I’m currently studying. This migration does happen,” the folklore scholar put his two cents in.
On the fringes of this controversy, the 1.8 billion pesos missing from the Paranaque city budget is still being investigated. Enrique Yap, the vice mayor who has taken on the role of Mayor Danny intermittently, is still hoping that the money could be recovered and used for the improvement.
“I don’t know what to think about the whole issue,” Manong Jaime Ramirez, who is a fish vendor in Paranaque, said. “I think everyone who holds power becomes corrupt. Probably, I would be too. I don’t mind if an aswang is in office just as long as he doesn’t steal too much.”
The people of Paranaque continue on with back breaking labor to provide for the needs of their families despite the Php 1.8 billion pesos missing government funds and the possibility of the existence of aswangs in the Philippines.
Bianca Roxas is a young Filipina living independently in Tokyo, Japan. She teaches kids. She is very into Sci-fi. She loves to write about things she likes. She also happens to do everything in the name of Jesus Christ.
Mayor Monster is a deconstruction of the myth of the Aswang. It's meant to be a social commentary about Philippine society Year 2020. The story centers on a young, promising mayor in the Philippines who begins losing his idealism and slowly succumbing to the system in place.