| Star cager James Yap. File photo
MANILA, Philippines - The lawyer of James Yap appeared on the ABS-CBN morning show "Umagang Kay Ganda" to reiterate that the star cager sought a hold departure order from the court to assert his rights as a father.
Atty. Lorna Kapunan explained that Yap only wanted to make his former wife, host-actress Kris Aquino, realize that he also has rights to their son Bimby.
She said it is not unusual for a hold departure order to be involved when addressing issues of child custody.
"Ang hold departure order, hindi ito unusual in a situation where the mother and the father are quarreling over the visitation or custody," Kapunan explained. "Ang ibig sabihin lang niyan is kapag may hold departure order, every time that the child travels with one parent alone, in a situation like this eh kailangang humingi ng permission sa court."
"In a family situation like this, a court can issue a hold departure order para hindi pwedeng dalhin ang anak anywhere else nang hindi alam ng another parent, 'yun lang naman," she added.
The lawyer said Yap's camp is open to an out-of-court settlement.
"Pwedeng maayos out of court. 'Yun lang naman ang gusto namin. 'Yun lang naman ang objective nitong hold departure order, to make them realize that James will not give up his rights," she explained.
"They should come out to a negotiating table or mag-meeting sila in chamber na walang abogado, walang pamilya, walang press, silang dalawa lang today, kasi bukas sila (Aquino and Bimby) allis. Kailangan malaman ni James, 'kailan ba kayo babalik? Kailan ko makakausap si Bimby?'"
Not about 'the truth'
In the interview, Kapunan also agreed to Aquino's appeal to disregard the issue of who between her and Yap is "telling the truth."
The lawyer said both parties should instead focus on Bimby.
"Ang mahirap dito mayroong 'he said, she said' na ngayon. Sabi niyo nga trending sa Twitter, na pati ito ay ginagawang Twitter topic. So, I'm joining the family [of Aquino] in their appeal na sana ay huwag na nating pag-usapan 'yung who's telling the truth.
"Regardless of who is telling the truth, ang balak ko ngayon sa hearing namin this morning is... Kasi kung may mag-aaway na naman, may mag-iiyakan, si Frank Chavez (Aquino's legal counsel) magpe-performance level na naman, gugulo ang usapan. Hindi naman ito away ng abogado, hindi ito away ng kung sino ang mas dapat paniwalaan. We are forgetting Bimby and the right of the father to see the child.
"At huwag nating kalimutan na may desisyon na ang court. Ang issue of whether James is a good father, can be a constant companion or mentor to the child, na-decide na 'yan ng Branch 140. And in the annulment case, nag-decision ang court after hearing all the evidence, including expert testimony, that James is not psychologically incapacitated to become a good father to the child. That's why the same court granted visitation rights [to Yap] twice a week. Hindi naman totoo na hindi niya ini-exercise ang kanyang visitation rights."
On Thursday night, Aquino cried on national television as she denied Yap's claim that she used the name of her brother, President Benigno Aquino III, on her newest personal battle.
According to Kapunan, Aquino filed temporary protection order against Yap not because her client allegedly "forced himself on her," but because the host-actress wanted to have sole custody over Bimby.
The lawyer revealed that Aquino has been asking Yap to sign adoption papers.
"Pinakita pa sa amin ni James 'yung papel na pinapipirmahan ni Kris, 'yung adoption papers," she said.
Kapunan also denied that Yap has not been making an effort to visit his son, saying that Aquino and Bimby are usually out of town.
"Ang nangyari kasi diyan is sa schedule daw ni James na Wednesday and Friday, kung minsan ay out of town si Bimby kasama ang mommy niya. At kung minsan ay out of the country.
"At times when he is here, sinasamahan 'yung schedule niya ng tutorial, sasabihin na 'hindi pwede, may tutorial [si Bimby].' But that being said, hindi naman talaga fixed ang schedule. Both of them have their separate schedules. Kung busy si Kris ay pinapapunta niya si James sa PTA sa eskwelahan o sa activities ni Bimby sa eskwelahan. So from their experience...naggi-give and take naman ang mga parties."
Kapunan also doubted the timing of Aquino's TPO against her ex-husband.
"Nangyari lang ito after February (2013) because 'yung sinasabi nilang incident noong December (2012). If that is true, why then would Kris allow Baby James (Bimby) to visit the father in January in the house of the father kasama noong yaya and another time in March? So hindi pwedeng 'yon ang naging cause noong paghingi ng TPO.
"The more recent incident is the February incident," she added, referring to when Aquino allegedly handed adoption papers to Yap.