Robin Padilla: I could have gotten this pardon from previous presidents
“The only wish of Mariel (Rodriguez, his wife) is for me to meet her father face to face. We have been together for almost six years,” said actor Robin Padilla, who was recently granted absolute pardon by President Duterte in relation to his illegal possession of firearms conviction in 1994.
With the presidential pardon, the 46-year-old actor hoped he would be granted a visa to join Mariel and their newborn, Maria Isabella, in the United States. His last trip to the US was in 2003. Since then, the status of his visa application has remained “processing.”
“She suggested that I talk to her father via FaceTime, but I thought that was very informal. I’d like to firmly shake his hand,” Robin told reporters at the media gathering organized the day after the President personally handed him a copy of the memorandum granting him absolute pardon.
“This was a surprise. I didn’t know how to react. I went to the President (on Tuesday night) for a different reason—to appeal for the appointment of my sister, Rema. Everything had been a blur after I saw the word ‘pardon’ written on the letter. In my mind, I was already rushing to the US Embassy to personally show it to anyone who would listen. I kept thinking of my wife and daughter,” he recalled.
Robin said Mariel knew of the news even before he had the chance to personally tell her. “She spoke with [immigration lawyer] Michael Gurfinkel, who promptly sent a letter to the US Embassy to inform them of the development. Women really think and act fast. You should think twice if you plan to hide from them. They’re always two steps ahead of you,” he quipped.
Robin said he would expect life to change for him from now on. “I will no longer be referred to as an ex-convict. I’m a new man,” he declared.
“I will no longer have a hard time getting clearance from the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation), or my driver’s license. I will be able to cast my vote. My civil and political rights are restored.”
He said he would now be allowed to run for public office, but he quickly added, “I have no intention of joining politics. I’m excited to travel abroad. This will also be good for business. I don’t want to get in trouble because there were times when I’d get invited to perform abroad but wasn’t granted a visa.
“This was the reason [his talent manager] Betchay [Vidanes] and my lawyer pursued this. I had nothing to do with this.” Robin’s legal counsel, Rudolf Philip Jurado, sat beside him and also answered questions during the press conference.
Robin said he was aware that people would associate the incident to the fact that he campaigned for Duterte during the presidential elections.
“I’d like to think that I could have gotten this from the previous presidents if I asked for it,” he pointed out, adding that he also campaigned for Ramos in 1992, and that former President Joseph Estrada is his uncle.
Then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo appointed Robin as envoy to Mindanao during her term. “She sent me there so many times for different missions. It would’ve been easy to ask this from ex-president Noynoy Aquino because his sister, Kris, was my leading lady,” he stressed.
Robin said the granting of pardon and the birth of his daughter call for a “double celebration.” He explained: “It all happened in 24 hours. People say Isabella and I have the same birthdate now. I’m very lucky.”
He said he regretted not being able to accompany Mariel when she gave birth in the US. Robin, who also has six other children with three other women, said he studied birth coaching for Mariel and even had a diploma for it.
He also explained why they opted for Mariel to give birth in the US.
“Her pregnancy wasn’t normal. Up to the time she gave birth, the doctors weren’t sure if there wouldn’t be any adverse effect on the child since Mariel took a lot of medications while she was conceiving,” Robin shared with the Inquirer.
Mariel and Isabella will return to Manila in February. “God willing, I will be able to follow them there,” Robin declared.