MANILA, Philippines—Would television host Kris Aquino and basketball star James Yap agree to a verbal ceasefire while peace talks are underway?
The Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 144 on Friday called a truce between the warring television host and star cager at a closed-door hearing on the hold-departure order (HDO) filed by Yap against his ex-wife and their 5-year-old son, James “Bimby” Yap Jr.
Judge Liza Marie Picardal-Tecson issued a gag order on the HDO case a day after Aquino and her sisters granted extensive interviews on television news programs, detailing her side of the story.
Five days before Yap asked for the HDO, the court received and granted a temporary protection order (TPO) plea filed by Aquino against Yap, allegedly over an incident of domestic violence in December.
In her petition, Aquino asked the court to order Yap to stay away by keeping a distance of at least 100 meters from her, Bimby and any household member. It also asked that the court render “permanent” the 30-day TPO.
The court has yet to decide on making the protection order permanent.
Yap filed for the HDO after learning that Aquino and Bimby were set to leave Saturday for a vacation in Paris, France, alleging that, like the TPO, the departure would violate his visitation rights as Bimby’s father.
“You cannot take the child out of the jurisdiction of the court,” Lorna Kapunan, Yap’s counsel, earlier told the Inquirer.
On Friday, however, Kapunan chose to remain mum on the case. “We have a gag order from the court,” she told reporters after the hearing.
“We will show respect for the court and we will not make any statement on what had happened because the hold-departure order application has already been submitted for resolution,” Aquino’s lawyer Frank Chavez said.
Gag covers entire case
The gag order covers “the entire case” and not just the HDO application, “not only the parties and their counsel but even you,” Chavez said, pointing to the media.
At press time, Kapunan told the Inquirer that Yap withdrew his HDO plea against Aquino and their son. Chavez, on the other hand, said the court junked Yap’s petition.
Kapunan said Yap had already instructed her to withdraw the HDO before the hearing Friday morning, in effect allowing Bimby to leave for Paris, France, with his mother Saturday.
“Yap said he didn’t want to deprive his son of the chance to see Disneyland Paris,” she said.
The court reportedly directed Aquino to present her travel arrangements and itinerary, which is considered a positive development by Yap’s camp, according to a source who requested anonymity.
Aquino was also directed to present proof of their arrival within 24 hours of their return from abroad, said the same source.
“In sum, the court directed Aquino to report to the court where she’s going and when she gets back from the trip,” said the source.
Chavez said he can only confirm that the court “found valid the grounds of our opposition to Yap’s HDO motion and accordingly denied it. I can’t go beyond this confirmation because of the court gag order. Kris and son can travel tomorrow.”
During the tearful TV interviews, Aquino had announced that she was quitting show business—a promise she once made but failed to fulfill—and said she was “doing everything” for the sake of Bimby.
Only the lawyers of Aquino and Yap were present during Friday’s hearing.—With reports from Bayani San Diego Jr. and Jerome Aning