The parents of actress Heart Evangelista are planning to file criminal and civil charges against her boyfriend, re-electionist senator Francis 'Chiz' Escudero, for allegedly driving a wedge between them and their daughter.
"Our backs are against the wall. We intend to file cases against Chiz," Evangelista's mother, Cecile Ongpauco, told a press briefing Thursday.
She said they will file a criminal case for libel against Escudero "for claiming that he is caught in the middle of this family feud when in fact he is the source of this family feud that we're now experiencing."
Ongpauco said that she was advised by their family lawyer to also file a civil complaint "because under the Civil Code, there's a provision that a course of action for damages is available against people like Chiz for meddling with, and disturbing the private life of another."
Earlier on Wednesday, Escudero had claimed he was caught in the middle of a misunderstanding between Heart and her parents. Escudero has consistently ranked near the top in surveys for the senatorial polls in May.
“Bagaman ako ay medyo nadadamay, hangga't maaari, ayaw kong manghimasok sa hindi pagkakaunawaan sa pagitan ng isang anak at kanyang mga magulang. Sana rin ay 'di ito panghimasukan ng iba upang sa gayon ay manatili ang puwang na magkaunawaan sila,” Escudero said in a statement aired on GMA News' “Unang Balita.”
Related story: Escudero replies to Ongpauco couple
'Family is suffering'
On Thursday, Ongpauco said their family has been suffering because of Escudero's actions. "He's trying to control our daughter who's so innocent about these things," she said.
At the same time, Ongpauco said her daughter's statement apologizing to Chiz and his family was fed to her. "I know my daughter enough to say that she is being controlled. My daughter does not write that way. It was fed to her... she's just so trusting and it's so easy for him to just control her that way."
Responding to Santiago's remarks, Ongpauco said they have already let Heart go, but are worried because of Escudero's alleged rude behavior.
"I even told her, I've taught you everything I could ever teach you. Now, you're already 28, you should know what's right and wrong, what you deserve in life, what kind of person you'd like to spend your life with," Ongpauco said.
She stressed that despite her age, Heart is innocent and naive. "I simply wish he [Escudero] could find someone his own age, and as they say, find someone his own size so to speak. And not do this to my daughter," she said.
There is an almost 16-year gap between the couple, with Chiz being 43 while Heart is 28.
She also said that the way Heart behaves now is the same way she behaved with her former boyfriends.
"Heart always loses her head when she's with someone and she falls in love. Her behavior with all her former boyfriends has been the same, including Chiz. She follows a pattern of total submission. She subordinates herself and caters to their every whim," Ongpauco said, describing how Heart would let them live in her condo and use her car.
"If Chiz thinks that he is special to her, he is very wrong," she said.
First time to speak
Ongpauco said this is the first time the family decided to speak out about the issue, because this is the first time they experienced being humiliated and disrespected. "We're very private people. This is actually the first time her father spoke in all the years our daughter has been in the industry," she said.
According to Ongpauco, every time Escudero would show himself to them, he would be under the influence of alcohol. "I don't really know because we don't drink, I don't know if this is the normal behavior of someone who feels that they're in power. But it's just no excuse in our Filipino culture," she said.
"We're just concerned about how a person like this that she's with can be this way with family, and so we're worried for her. But if that's what she chooses, then so be it... I think we've raised her in a fashion where respect for elders and family and parents is a given," Ongpauco added.
“Malapit sa puso ng mga Pilipino ang mga magulang at nakatatanda. Kapag may ginawa kang masama sa mga sektor na ito, malaking bagay para sa mga Pinoy. Mawawalan ng respeto ang mga tao sa iyo,” German said in a previous article.
Ongpauco said she felt sorry for her husband, who was "very, very hurt" when he received an angry text from Heart. "Not one of our kids has ever done that to him," said Ongpauco, urging Heart to make amends with her father.
"He's been the best father to my children. Dapat hindi ganun, because we didn't raise her that way," she said. — RSJ/YA/HS, GMA News