Senator Pimentel III keeping our kids from me, cries wife JewelBy Carla P. Gomez
BACOLOD CITY—A legal battle may be looming between Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III and his estranged wife, Jewel May Lobaton, over custody of their two sons.
Lobaton is fighting hoping to have the boys returned to her after Pimentel allegedly took them on July 1 and has since prevented her from seeing them.
“It has been more than a week. I am begging Koko to show our two boys to me. I’ve not seen them and I am in pain,” said Lobaton, former Binibining Pilipinas who represented the country in the Miss Universe pageant in 1998.
But Pimentel denied that he was preventing Lobaton from seeing their sons—aged 8 and 2.
He said Lobaton is free to see the boys if she wanted to, or visit the older one at school.
Pimentel admitted that the boys were staying with his parents in Quezon City. “We are currently negotiating the terms of custody of the boys,” he said.
Lobaton maintained that she had been asking Pimentel to allow her to see their children and to return them to her but the senator had turned her down.
“I never wanted to make this a legal battle as it will mainly affect our children. But Koko ignores my requests,” she told the Inquirer.
Pimentel announced last May that he had been separated from Lobaton, his wife of almost 12 years, since November 2011.
He didn’t say what triggered the separation except that they had failed to resolve their differences.
Lobaton said they used to share custody although the two boys were staying with her at her house in Quezon City.
She said she allowed the senator to see the children anytime he wanted—“even if I know he didn’t deserve that.”
On June 28, Lobaton said Pimentel took the boys and promised to bring them back on July 1. But six days had passed and the boys were still with Pimentel, she said.
“Up to now, I ask permission to see the boys in school when I know I can just visit and get the kids, but again I am waiting for his approval before I go see the boys. The mental and emotional anguish is killing me,” she said.
Lobaton said she remained hopeful that she and Pimentel would be able to settle the issue of joint custody so their sons would not suffer any trauma.