MANILA -- Jewel Lobaton, the estranged wife of Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel, turned emotional as she filed Wednesday her petition seeking the annulment of her 13-year marriage to the lawmaker.
The former beauty queen formalized the legal step at a Quezon City court, accompanied by her legal counsel, Atty. Salvador Panelo.
"We have cited several instances that show that there have been abuses from Day 1 of the wedding up to the day of the separation, and continuing up to the present," the lawyer said, explaining what motivated the petition.
The case was raffled to Judge Jose Bautista of the QC Family Court.
Lobaton and Pimentel were married in 2000 and separated in 2011. They have two children, aged 8 and 2.
Speaking exclusively with ABS-CBN News' Mario Dumaual shortly before filing the petition, Lobaton pointed to her kids in explaining her initial hesitation to take the legal step.
"[I feel] sad and helpless, because I'm thinking of the children. Atsaka natatakot po ako," said Lobaton, who appeared to be holding tears.
"It took me sometime because I really want to give it a try, a chance. I don't want to harm...," she added, before breaking down and requesting to end the interview.
Panelo, who was beside Lobaton, brought up his client's "emotional outburst" in requesting to excuse her from the interview.
Panelo nonetheless detailed further steps they are planning to take in relation to Lobaton's alleged abusive relationship with Pimentel, saying they are set to file a petition for a temporary protection order against the senator.
'No stone unturned'
According to Lobaton, who resumed with the interview after appearing to compose herself, she had sought the support of her friends in taking the matter to court.
"Bago ako pumunta dito last weekend, pumunta muna ako sa mga kaibigan kong pari, madre, atsaka mga kaibigan namin sa community. Actually sinabi sa akin hanggang kanina, 'You did your best, no stone was left unturned. God be with you'," she said.
She added she had tried numerous times to speak with Pimentel, "pero hindi niya ako pinagbigyan."
"I am really entrusting everything to God. Siya na ang bahala. Basta deep in my heart, alam ko ginawa ko na po lahat ng kaya kong gawin for the sake of our children," she said.
Pimentel opted to put off addressing the issue when sought for his statement on Wednesday.