MANILA - Comedian Jose Manalo denied on Friday that he has been neglecting his children, which was allegedly the reason for a supposed suicide attempt by one of his daughters last Wednesday.
In a statement sent to ABS-CBN News, the "Eat Bulaga" co-host said he is "deeply saddened by the recent reports that one of his daughters attempted to take her own life, allegedly because of his refusal to send her to her choice of school."
Manalo maintained that he has been been "providing, and will continue to provide his children such support to the best of his ability."
According to the comedian, upon his request, part of his pay as co-host of "Eat Bulaga" is automatically remitted to the respective schools of his children with his estranged wife, Anna Lyn.
"Contrary to the baseless allegations being made against him, Jose has been diligently observing and following the orders of the Court as regards the support requested by Anna Lyn and their children," Manalo's camp said, referring to an earlier legal battle between the former couple.
"It is rather regrettable that the recent events resulted to machinations which portray Jose in a character contrary to what he truly is. It is likewise saddening that Jose’s efforts to provide support within his means, are not being appreciated, and at times, being exploited, by demands which are far beyond Jose’s financial capacity," his statement added.
Atty. Dennis Pangan, a lawyer representing the 17-year-old daughter who allegedly attempted suicide, said on Thursday that the girl left a letter where she supposedly lamented Manalo's neglect of her and her siblings.
He said, the girl, who is now recovering after a reported drug overdose, supposedly mentioned in her letter how her father failed to fulfill his promise to pay her tuition fee.
In his statement, Manalo emphasized that "the obligation to support the family is not only incumbent upon him as the father of his children, but on Anna Lyn, as well, and that they should, together, resolve the issues and arrive at an agreement which would be to the best interests of their children."
The comedian also expressed sadness "that Anna Lyn has resorted to such measures and allowed this to happen, and even made public statements as regards the condition of their children."
Manalo urged his former partner "to be logical and reasonable, and refrain from making further acts that would undoubtedly prejudice the well-being, self-worth and dignity of their children."
COUPLE FACING MULTI-MILLION PESO SUIT?
Manalo also revealed he and his wife are facing a multi-million peso court case, which he blamed on her.
"It is very unfortunate that Jose's relationship with his wife Anna Lyn has been beset by difficult challenges arising from several civil and criminal cases filed against them by third persons, for transactions amounting to more than P68,000,000.00, which were entered into by Anna Lyn and deplorably dragging Jose with her," his camp said.
"These challenges," Manalo's camp added, "even resulted in a series of legal battles, including, among others, a case of support filed by Anna Lyn and their children against Jose, as well as a Complaint-Affidavit for violation of Republic Act No. 9262 filed against Jose by one of his children.
It was in 2012 when Anna Lyn first accused Manalo of not fulfilling his financial responsibilities to their children following their separation over the comedian's alleged extra-marital affair.
Anna Lyn, at the time, alleged she started to experience verbal abuse from Manalo in the second half of 2011, amid rumors that the TV host was having a "sexual relationship" with a member of a popular dance group. She claimed that Manalo's alleged tirades were committed even in the presence of their children.
According to Manalo's statement, the court cases involving him and his wife "have been referred by his lawyers for proper action."
"He has likewise been advised by his lawyers to refrain from commenting thereon while the cases are pending, in due deference to the authorities before whom the cases are currently pending."
Manalo requested that he and his family be given privacy to allow them "to resolve their differences out of the public eye."