Actor and television host Michael Pangilinan Riggs, who was hit and injured by a speeding motorcycle along Rizal Avenue last month, has decided to drop the case he had filed against the motorcycle driver responsible for the accident.
In an interview with Palawan News after his operation that required a metal implant to support a fractured leg bone, Riggs recounted his first encounter with the driver, Rey Vincent Pacaldo, who was detained at the police station following the incident, when he visited him.
“Pagpasok niya nakatingin lang ako at parang nagtatanong na why does this have to happen sa ating dalawa. May kaunting inis at galit na bakit ako, tumatawid lang naman ako,” he said.
“Bigla syang lumapit, yumapos siya at umiyak siya nang umiyak. It melted my heart. Na-realize ko na I am also a father. Tatay din siya at ‘yong anak niya ay doon din natutulog sa presinto. Siya ang nagpapatulog, hindi raw natutulog kung hindi sa kanya,” he said.
He said that he found similarities between them that convinced him to not pursue the filing anymore. He believed that it was an accident that none of them wanted to happen.
“Iniisip ko paano na lang kung makukulong siya, paano yong anak niya, asawa niya? ‘Yong nanay niya ay teacher, parehas kami,” he said.
Riggs said that he burst into tears during the reconciliation with Pacaldo.
Thanking the locals
Popularly known as “Eagle” Riggs, he expressed gratitude to his “angels without wings” who extended help for his medication after he met the accident in the city on August 18.
“I am okay now, much better than how I felt noong nasa hospital ako. Mas iba na ‘yong view. Iba na ‘yong mga tao na nakakaharap, wala na masyadong boredom na nasa hospital kasi malaking factor pala ‘yon. Mas maganda kapag may nakikita ka na iba, mas mabilis nakaka-adopt ‘yong body. With regards to my body, nakaka-adjust naman ako ng kaunti although hindi pa ako medyo sanay magsaklay,” he said.
Riggs was hit by a speeding motorcycle while crossing Rizal Avenue, resulting in a leg bone fracture that required an operation. He had hosted a bar show the night before the accident.
After he was discharged from the Cooperative Hospital, Riggs was fetched by Yolanda Costin who is the mother of his friend, Allan Pineda where he stayed for two weeks.
Riggs was sitting in a porch with his walker in front of him while narrating his recovery. He had 36 staples from his surgery just removed from his right leg.
Riggs thanked Roger Tamayo of Ang Dating Daan who monitored his recovery and supported his medication from the hospital such as preparation of his food, attending to his basic needs and dressing his wound.
“There are some people that I want to thank. Ang tawag ko sa kanila ay mga angel. Dati hindi ako naniniwala pero ngayon, meron pala talaga na mga anghel na ipinapadala sa’yo in times of need talaga na may ganoon. May angels in disguise, angels without wings. Si Yolly Costin is such an angel for offering her house. Who on earth would do that to a total stranger?” he said.
Riggs said he does not have any relative in the province and that he was grateful for all the help extended to him by the locals.
The provincial government also extended financial assistance of P50,000 through the Social Welfare and Development Office.
Support came through friends
He also said his friends in Manila will be holding a benefit show including Richard Villanueva for the purpose of his continuous medication and rehabilitation on October 30.
Riggs is scheduled to finally leave for Manila on September 15 after his flight was canceled on August 24 due to his late release.
He said that it also saddens him that the peak season for hosting is during Christmas yet he could not work due to his condition. He said it will affect him as he is the breadwinner of his family. He has a three-year-old son and his mother suffered from a stroke.
“Hindi ako makakapagtrabaho for the next four to five months. Ewan ko kung kukunin nila ako mag-host ng pilay at saka granted na pilay ako at okay ako mag-host, ang hirap umakyat at bumaba sa stage, how could I do that. Iyon pa ang iniiwasan ko, dapat isa o dalawang hakbang lang. ‘Di ako pwede sa stage. ‘Yon lang, ang hirap-hirap na,” he said.
Retreat to farm
The actor said he will retreat to his small farm in Laguna after explaining the incident to his mother.
“Ang unang-una kong gagawin ay magpapaliwanag sa nanay ko. Ikukuwento ko sa kanya lahat kasi naaawa ako sa kanya kasi wala siyang kamalay-malay. Mahal ako noon. Na-stroke siya kaya di ko siya pwede gulatin, baka magwo-worry ‘yon. Tapos magpapahinga ako ng magpapahinga. Hindi muna ako magtatrabaho at saka baka umuwi muna ako sa maliit kong farm sa Laguna,” he said while about to shed tears.
One month of his stay in Puerto Princesa also made him long for his mother and siblings’ care.
Riggs said that he might return again to Puerto Princesa just for a stopover before going to places he wanted to visit before the accident.
“Kasi wala akong ibang paraan, I love Matahum beach so kaya bababa lang ako ng Puerto Princesa from airport diretso na ako ng Matahum o kaya diretso na ako ng Barangay Manalo sa Eddie’s Bahay Aplaya o kaya diretso na ako ng El Nido at sa mga lugar na gusto ko pa puntahan,” he said.
He said that he still wants to visit the island municipalities of Palawan.
Riggs shared his realizations to Palawan News, emphasizing the value of life and how it can be taken away in a second. He also spoke of forgiveness.
“Value of life, yong buhay sa isang iglap ay pwedeng mawala, binibigyan pa rin ako ng chance ni God to relive once again siguro gumawa na ng mas mabuti, gumawa ng mas tama, sa mas nakakarami. The value of forgiving, hindi ka nawawalan, hindi ka natatalo kapag nagpapatawad ka, nakaka-gain ka pa,” he said.
Riggs also spoke of how friends come and go during the time of crisis, that he’s thankful for the people who helped even in their little way.
“The value of friends, may mga friends din pala na hanggang doon lang. May friends na matagalan, na tunay ‘yong pakita nila. Thankful ako sa lahat ng tumulong on their own small ways, mga kaklase ko dati, mga katrabaho ko. At saka huli, family, ang hirap malayo sa pamilya. Kapag may nangyari pala sayo, pamilya talaga ang unang tumutulong sa’yo,” he said.
He is extending his gratitude to friends in show business: Judy Ann Santos, Dawn Zulueta, Korina Sanchez, Cong. Dan Fernandez, Gladys Reyes, Biboy Arboleda, Edwin Hernandez, friends from University of Santo Tomas (UST) Teatro Tomasino, Saint Joseph’s Academy of Las Piñas, and friends from the networks, ABS-CBN, GMA, and UnTV.
He said he is very thankful to Daniel Razon of Ang Dating Daan and brother Eli Soriano who initially helped him and gave money for his hospitalization.
He also thanked his friends in Puerto Princesa including Edie Moorcoft, the couple who saw him after the accident, Hydie and Bong and Conny Caabay who offered their service for his transport going to the airport.