Content warning: This story discusses allegations of domestic violence and physical abuse.
Two members of Filipino rock icons Eraserheads, Ely Buendia and Raymund Marasigan, have addressed resurfaced abuse allegations against guitarist Marcus Adoro and criticism of his involvement in the band’s reunion concert.
Though Buendia’s manager has revealed that he agreed to the reunion on the condition that Adoro “resolve his issues” – a condition Adoro’s management is said to have “promised” to fulfil – both Adoro’s daughter Syd Hartha and ex-partner Barbara Ruaro, who accused him of abuse in 2019, tell NME that they have not received any attempts at reconciliation or apology.
The Eraserheads Huling El Bimbo Concert was announced earlier this week. Promotional material for the show, which takes place in Manila this December, indicated that Adoro would reunite with the other three members of the band – Buendia, Marasigan and Buddy Zabala.
— Ely Buendia (@elybuendia9001) September 19, 2022
After the show was announced, as Rappler notes, some took to social media noting allegations of abuse that were seemingly made against Adoro in September 2019 by Hartha and Ruaro. According to reports, Adoro did not publicly address the allegations at the time. NME has reached out to Adoro for comment.
As reported by Coconuts at the time, Hartha – in a social media post on September 12, 2019 that referred to the alleged perpetrator as “Makoy” – alleged that he physically abused her multiple times, hitting her head against the wall even in the presence of her friends. The post concluded with Hartha calling “Makoy” a “monster”: “Sana magsilbi itong gabay sa lahat. (‘Hope this serves as a guide for everyone.’) This monster could be anywhere now doing who else knows what. Let’s watch out for each other.”
On September 6, the week prior to Hartha’s post, Ruaro uploaded a graphic photo displaying cuts and bruises on her face to social media. It came with a caption stating that she had “experienced all sorts of abuse” at the hands of a “narcissistic man” who she did not name. (According to Rappler, Ruaro liked a comment on one of her social media posts asking if she was referring to “Marcus”.) In a separate series of photographs depicting other injuries posted two days later, Ruaro said that her alleged abuser had pleaded her to “quit [her] career and devote [her] life to him”, even threatening suicide if she left him, according to Cosmopolitan.
Users on Twitter have since expressed dismay and anger at Adoro’s inclusion in the band’s reunion show in light of the allegations. Both Ruaro and Hartha appeared to respond to the furore on social media, with the former expressing gratitude for “every single person who chose not to turn a blind eye” and the latter thanking “those who didn’t forget” in a post which has garnered nearly 20,000 likes.
Thank you. THANK YOU. Thank you to every single person who chose not to turn a blind eye. Thank you for praying with us and for us. Thank you for making sure that we feel your massive support, whether we know each other personally or not.
Justice belongs to The Lord. @sydhartha
— Barbara Ruaro (@bieruaro) September 19, 2022
salamat sa mga di nakalimot😊🖤
— syd hartha (@sydhartha) September 19, 2022
In a statement to NME yesterday (September 21), Ely Buendia’s manager Diane Ventura said that “one of Ely’s non negotiable conditions prior to signing [an agreement to participate in the Eraserheads reunion] was precisely that Marcus resolve his issues otherwise Ely would not work with him.” This was “promised” by Adoro’s management, Ventura’s statement claimed, “which was why we even reconsidered”.
Ventura also responded to claims that the band were “enabling” an alleged abuser by having Adoro involved in the reunion, saying: “To call Ely an enabler is categorically false and absurd. We do not condone abuse that is absolute. We acknowledge the pain and suffering of the parties involved and we seek accountability.”
Ventura’s statement concluded: “We will do what we can to encourage peace, resolution and will never get in the way of possible reconciliation or second chances between families. We are hoping for good to come out of this.”
In separate statements issued to NME on September 21, after the publication of Buendia’s manager’s statement, Hartha and Ruaro said that they have not received from Adoro or a representative of his any attempts at reconciliation or apology.
A family member of Hartha’s who declined to be named told NME: “There have been no attempts to reconcile or resolve anything prior to the concert teasers and announcement. We are also not inclined to accept any apology knowing its sincerity is questionable.
“We would like to thank everyone who continues to give us support.”
When asked if there were discussions between her and Adoro with an aim to “resolve [their] issues”, Ruaro said: “Since 2019, neither Marcus nor any of his representatives have reached out to me, Syd, and our respective families. No apologies were made. No civil discussion ensued. And on his part, no steps were taken towards a clear and final resolution. So, regretfully, this is false.”
Ruaro declined to comment on both the allegations she made in 2019 and Adoro’s involvement in the Eraserheads reunion, saying: “I refuse to comment any further regarding the matter. Personally, I have been working on my own healing and have been blessed with a strong support system. There is nothing else that I desire more than peace, and for my beautiful family to remain protected throughout the course of this predicament.”
In an interview with Bandwagon published September 20, Raymund Marasigan briefly touched on the resurfacing allegations against Adoro. “If you’re my friend, seek me out and we can talk about it privately,” the drummer stated. “Publicly on social media, any statement can be misconstrued. Nobody wins.”
“I hope the issue between the parties gets resolved soon,” he added. “I really want to respect the privacy of those involved, and sincerely hope they all find peace of mind.”
Marasigan reiterated his perspective in the latest episode of his podcast Offstage Hang, which was shared yesterday. When asked about Adoro, Marasigan said it was “the most difficult question of all”, before reiterating his reluctance to discuss the issue publicly, as he believes that “anything I will say… online can be misconstrued”, and maintaining his desire to “protect everybody’s privacy”. “I honestly – in my heart – want them to resolve it and have peace,” he said. “Peace of mind and of heart.”
Marasigan also acknowledged the controversial nature of the Eraserheads reunion. “Because of this show, people will discuss, people will argue, people will fight, people will boycott, that’s OK,” he stated. “When we agreed to do the show, we [knew] all of this can happen. I will not invalidate everybody’s opinions or feelings.”
NME has reached out to representatives of Raymund Marasigan and Buddy Zabala for comment.
Additional reporting by Surej Singh and Karen Gwee