Court gags Kris Aquino, James Yap on custody fight over son
MANILA, Philippines – A gag order has been issued by a local court against actress-host Kris Aquino and ex-husband James Yap, refraining them from commenting further on their fight for custody of their son.
Judge Liza Marie Picardal-Tecson of the Makati regional trial court Branch 144 issued the ruling Friday during its hearing on the hold departure order filed by Yap against Aquino and their son Bimby (James Jr.) who were scheduled to leave the country for a vacation.
Five days before Yap sought the travel restriction, the court received and granted a petition from Aquino asking for a temporary protection order to keep Yap away from her and the boy following recent alleged sexual advances and rough treatment of her by Yap that had supposedly traumatized the boy.
In her petition, Aquino asked the court to order Yap to stay away by keeping at least a hundred-meter distance from her, Bimby and any household member. It also asked that the court render permanent the current 30-day protection order. The court has yet to decide on making the protection order permanent.
Yap filed for the petition for a hold-departure order after learning that Aquino and Bimby were to leave on Saturday for a vacation in Paris, France, alleging that, like the temporary protection order, the departure would violate his visitation rights as Bimby’s father. “You cannot take the child out of the jurisdiction of the court,” his counsel Lorna Kapunan told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
On Friday, however, Kapunan would not say a word about the merits of the case. “We have a gag order from the court,” she said upon emerging from the courtroom.
Aquino’s lawyer Frank Chavez, upon sweeping out the courtroom doors, also announced to the waiting media: “You get nothing! Our lips are sealed.”
“We will show respect to 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,” he added.
The gag order covers “the entire case,” and not just regarding the hold-departure order application, Chavez said. It also covers “not only the parties and their counsel but even you,” Chavez said, pointing to the reporters.
Yap’s hold departure order plea against Aquino and her son was expected to be resolved within the day.
The gag order came a day after Aquino and her sisters granted extensive interviews on television news programs, detailing her side of the issue.
Yap had been similarly interviewed on television.
During the tearful interviews, Aquino tendered her “resignation” from show business and said that she was “doing everything” for her son.
As news of the gag order spread through social media, netizens expressed more relief than curiousity. User @jklans, like many others, noted: “It’s about time,” while user @pastor_ey hailed the order as “SOLOMONIC!”