Julia Barretto, with dad Dennis Padilla, poses with a certificate that reads 'Julia Francesco Barretto Baldivia' in this undated photo from a fan website dedicate to the young actress
MANILA - The camp of Marjorie Barretto bared on Monday the grounds for the annulment of her marriage to Dennis Padilla in 2009, citing this as one of the reasons why their 17-year-old daughter, Julia, can petition to drop her father's surname.
In a statement given to ABS-CBN News, Atty. Lorna Kapunan claimed that Padilla had a prior marriage in 1994, three years before he and Marjorie got married on November 14, 1997.
On October 29, 2009, a court declared the marriage as null and void on the ground that it was bigamous, according to Kapunan.
"All these years, Marjorie kept her silence about this real ground for the nullification of her marriage with Dennis because she did not want to put Dennis in a bad light," the lawyer said.
As "there is no marriage to speak of" between Padilla and Marjorie, Julia is an illegitimate child, Kapunan said, citing Article 165 of the Family Code.
Marjorie and Padilla have two younger children, Claudia and Leon.
Kapunan also noted that Julia was born on March 10, 1997, months before her parents got married. She cited this as the reason why Julia's first birth certificate, which is registered in the NSO, states that her name is "Julia Francesca Barretto."
After the marriage of Padilla and Marjorie, they proceeded to have Julia's legitimation reflected in her birth certificate with the Civil Registry of San Juan City. This, according to Kapunan, was under the premise that the marriage was valid.
"As a consequence of such legitimation, Julia’s new Birth Certificate states her name as 'Julia Francesca Barretto Baldivia,'" Kapunan said.
"However, the only way that she could have been validly 'legitimated' was if she was conceived and born at the time that her parents had no legal impediment to marry each other and then they subsequently entered into a valid marriage. This was not the case in Julia's situation. She could not have been validly legitimated."
Dennis hurt over petition
According to Kapunan, Julia's move to change her name formally "has nothing to do with the issue of financial support, as maliciously claimed by Dennis."
Kapunan was referring to Padilla's TV interview aired last Saturday about Julia, and how he was hurt upon finding out about the petition to drop his surname. A similar interview was published Monday in the column of entertainment reporter Ricky Lo.
In his interview with Lo, Padilla admitted that he has not been able to support his children with Marjorie financially, citing the lack of projects as an actor-comedian.
"At first, I told myself that Marjorie and Julia have the right na alisin ang surname because, I must admit, marami naman akong pagkukulang," he said.
Padilla explained: "Ever since Marjorie and I separated, my career, political and showbiz, became unstable. Nag-lie low ang career ko which was not my choice. But showbiz is like that; sometimes, you earn a lot; sometimes, you don’t; sometimes, medya lang."
"Even when Marjorie and I were newly separated, I still had to work so I could support them financially. Then, these past three years, talagang hindi na ako nakapagbigay because I have no more projects," he added.
Asked if he makes efforts to reach out to Julia, Padilla said he last saw his daughter last February 7, two days before his birthday. He said he wanted to visit her on March 10 on the occasion of her birthday, but Julia supposedly requested him not to because she felt uncomfortable about her parents meeting each other.
"But after that, she got busy with the taping for her show Mirabella, so I told her, 'Sige, kung kailan ka na lang libre,'" he said.
Padilla said he has also brought up the petition with his daughter, but Julia was evasive in discussing the matter.
On whether he feels that Julia has any resentment towards him, Padilla said: "No, I don't. I was happy with the success of her show Mirabella. I texted her, 'Anak, job well done. I love you. See you soon.' She called, 'Pa, thank you sa message.'"
"In passing, I told her that I already have a copy of the petition. She just said, 'I shall talk to you some other time…' That’s how the call ended," he said.
Stressing that Julia's petition is not related to Padilla's inability to fulfill his financial obligations, Kapunan explained that the young actress merely wants to "prevent confusion" regarding her name, being a public figure.
"Dennis has always used the surname 'Padilla' and never the surname 'Baldivia'. Julia, on the other hand, has always publicly used the surname 'Barretto'. That Julia now wants to formalize this name in the NSO records to avoid confusion in the public’s mind should not be taken against Julia," Kapunan said.
The lawyer emphasized that neither Julia nor Marjorie has brought up in public Padilla's shortcomings in his financial responsibilities, saying the former comedian was the first to bring attention to the issue with his interviews.
Kapunan said: "If not for Dennis' interview, the public would not have known the fact that Dennis has not been financially supporting his children with Marjorie for years now. Certainly, Julia has never told anyone that Dennis has not been giving support.
"The fact is that Julia continues to recognize and respect Dennis as her father."
According to Kapunan, their camp will be filing an urgent ex-parte motion for gag order against Padilla.