MANILA, Philippines – Akap Bata, the sole party-list for children’s rights and welfare, on Wednesday called on the public to stop dragging the 2-year-old son of Kris Aquino into the messy world of politics.
The party-list group made this call after James “Baby James” Yap Jr. blurted out the name of the strongest presidential rival of his uncle, Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, during the lawmaker’s campaign sortie in Bacolod last week.
Instead of Noynoy’s name, the 2-year-old shouted “Villar” on stage, referring to Sen. Manny Villar, the standard bearer of Nacionalista Party.
Following the incident, videos showing Baby James shouting “Villar,” with title “Baby James: Secret Supporter of Villar,” and photos of Baby James holding a placard with “I Love Villar" tag have been spreading all over the Internet through YouTube, Facebook, and blogs.
Akap Bata said Baby James doesn’t deserve mockery from the public.
“What worries us the most is the possible immediate and long-term effects of this incident to Baby James. We are appealing to those people playing-up this issue and have been spreading and hurling ridicules to Baby James to please leave Baby James alone and respect his innocence and childhood,’ said Joy Alcantara, Akap Bata's first nominee.
Alcantara also called on Kris to supervise her youngest son in the campaign sorties. She said Baby James needs more guidance especially in time of a closely contested presidential election between top rivals Aquino and Villar.
Alcantara’s group said it hopes the Bacolod incident will serve as a learning experience to the Aquino camp and others as well.
Her group, however, admitted that there is nothing wrong if the actress brings her child to these political activities.
“We challenge all individuals and groups that have been consistent in ridiculing and those giving meaning to the words of Baby James to stop these activities and keep him out of all the election brouhahas. With this, we hope that the coming poll will just focus in prioritizing protection of every child’s welfare and interests, above anything else.” Alcantara said.
Akap Bata has been linked to Villar after it used the presidential bet's campaign jingle.
The Akap Bata Party-List TV advertisement, which aired from February 9 to March 8, featured less-fortunate children singing to the tune of Villar’s “Dagat ng Basura” jingle.
The use of the jingle spurred talks that the Akap Bata commercial may be funded by Villar, an allegation denied by the group.