Reelectionist Sen. Francis Escudero on Tuesday apologized to the public and some private persons over the controversy involving his girlfriend, actress Heart Evangelista, and her parents. “I want to take the opportunity to ask forgiveness to our countrymen since they are being dragged into the controversy which is supposed to be private and personal. But we did not ask for this, we did not want this,” Escudero said in Filipino over DWIZ radio. Escudero admitted that he and Evangelista are trying to cope with the biggest challenge in their eight-month-old relationship. But he remains optimistic that they will overcome the hurdle. He also denied allegations by Evangelista’s parents — Reynaldo and Cecilia Ongpauco — that he was disrespectful toward them and that he was an alcoholic. On the unsolicited advice by some colleagues that he should also start courting Evangelista’s parents, Escudero said he initiated efforts to reach out to the Ongpaucos but to noavail. “The only thing I was unable to do is to fetch pails of water and to ax some wood,” he said in jest, citing Filipinos’ longtime traditions to show sincerity for one’s love before marriage. Escudero said it is hard to deal with the situation because he cannot just fight against the parents of the one he loves. He said he is pained having to see Evangelista as the one gravely affected by the controversy. “She has not been her usual bubbly self than she is prior to this. She is sad,” Escudero said in Filipino.
As a parent to twins with her former wife, Cristine Flores, Escudero said he understands that Evangelista’s parents may just want to put their youngest daughter’s interests. He admitted though that parents love for children cannot be made as an excuse to hurt and look down on anybody.