Manila: Basketball star James Yap was teary-eyed when he defended himself at a lower court in Makati City, which ordered him to stay at least 100 metres away from his estranged wife Kris Aquino and their five-year old son, including household staff, following her complaint of his “overt sexual advances” last December that allegedly affected their son psychologically.
Noting that his wife, the younger sister of President Benigno Aquino, has been creating a gap between him and his son Bimby, Yap told Manila Bulletin, “Now, my son is angry at me.”
“That’s not true,” Yap countered Aquino’s allegation that he tried to seduce her when he visited their son in her condominium in Makati City in December.
When he was about to leave the condominium at the time, he touched his former wife’s shoulder and “jokingly” tried to kiss her only to convince his son who refused to kiss him, Yap told the Philippine Star.
In that instant, Kris shouted, “You’re hurting me” and tried to appear hurt, recalled Yap, adding he could not explain why she made an issue out of a three-month old episode.
“I was surprised when I learned about this,” said Yap, after the Makati Regional Trial Court granted on March 15 Aquino’s request for a temporary protection order (TPO), in response to a petition that she filed on the same day.
Yap was ordered to keep a distance of at least 100 metres from her and his son; and to stay away from her residence, school, place of employment or any place frequented by her and her son. Philippine courts issue TPO to protect women and children who are victims of domestic violence.
Yap vowed to fight for his right to visit his son, adding that he loves his son.
Before the TPO’s expiration on April 13, more evidences will be presented in court on April 8 and 10, to support Aquino’s petition to make the restriction permanent, said her lawyer Frank Chavez.
In reaction to Yap’s claim that he was not remiss of his duties to his son, lawyer Chavez said in an interview with Radio Inquirer that the basketball star visited his son only 25 times out of the 104 visits he was allowed (twice a week) in a year
“He himself has indicated that he is not sincere in seeing his son. He does not avail [of his visitation rights], he does not maximize the opportunity,” said Chavez, adding, “He would visit his son only if he remembers to do so, or when he is not doing anything.”
Last January, he promised to give his son a gift. The son was disappointed for not getting a gift from his father, said Chavez.
There were also two uneasy meetings between the father and child in March, following the event in December which affected him psychologically because he believed his father was hurting his mother following a heated argument after she rejected his sexual advances in her bedroom, said Chavez.
“On March 8, Kris found Bimby running and shouting, ‘I hate you! I don’t want to talk to you! Stay away from me!’ during one of Yap’s visits,” Chavez said.
On March 13, Yap wanted to talk to Bimby, and a video taken by Kris’ assistant, showed that Bimby did not want to talk to his father, Chavez recalled, adding, “[These are indications that] the child does not want to see him or hear his voice.”
His alleged sexual harassment to his wife happened in December, but the complaint was filed in March because she wanted Yap to show more caring for his son, Chavez explained.
Yap, 31, star of the San Miguel basketball team, has won two Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the Philippine Basketball Association. His team is majority owned by Kris uncle, Eduardo Cojuangco.