REP. EMMELINE AGLIPAY-VILLAR is launching the Hope for Lupus Foundation this Sunday at the CCP with an exhibit, “Lupus Warriors”, and a musical play, “Mabining Mandirigma”, about Apolinario Mabini. All the proceeds will be given to the Bridging Lupus Fund for the benefit of indigent lupus patients at the PGH. Emmeline is the youngest daughter of former PNP Chief Gen. Edgar Aglipay and the founder of the Aglipayan church is her great great grandfather. She’s a lupus survivor herself.
She’s now married to DPWH Sec. Mark Villar, the son of Sens. Manny and Cynthia Villar. She was diagnosed with lupus when she was 25 years old, a lawyer working with then Justice Chief Reynato Puno. “I suddenly had rashes, blisters on my face and body, very painful and I had to cover them with heavy make up,” she says. “Then I had rheumatoid arthritis with joint pains. I couldn’t walk because my knees ankles, toes are swollen. I gained so much weight due to water retention and I also lost my hair so I had to wear a wig. I had inflamed kidneys and when I was taken to the ER, they gave me blood transfusion as my hemoglobin was so low. Lupus is a disease where the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells and tissues. Early detection is important to prevent major damage of the kidneys and other organs. Many lupus patients die without proper diagnosis and treatment, so our foundation aims to raise awareness about the disease through education, community research programs and funding Lupus research. There is no cure for Lupus but it’s manageable through medications. Very important that you avoid stress.”
How did her romance with Sec. Villar start? “We met in congress in 2010. When he courted me, I just came from a bad breakup at takot ako to be in another relationship because of my disease, so I avoided him. When he asked for my number from a friend, sabi ko, wag mong ibigay. But when I felt he was serious, I told him I have lupus, you google it. I removed my wig to show na kalbo ako and my make up to show my rashes. After that, he was quiet, I thought be got scared but he came back. I said, I might not have children. He persisted. What’s nice about him is that he jokes a lot. His term of endearment for me is Bems, for Bembol Roco kasi kalbo nga ako. My dad said, saan ka pa makakakita ng ganyang lalaki na tinanggap ka kahit hindi ka magkakaanak. So we got married in 2014. Mark is super bait. Then I asked my doctor if I could get pregnant and when I was given the go signal, ayun, nagka-baby kami, si Emma, now one year old.”
Will she have another child? “It depends on my doctor. Kasi having Emma is not easy. She was born premature, had some problems, but now, she’s very healthy. If God would allow it na masundan siya, salamat. But if not, my baby now is already a very big miracle that I’m so thankful for.”
ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE