Padilla: No politics behind absolute pardon from Duterte
MANILA — Actor Robin Padilla strongly denied on Wednesday that the absolute pardon granted to him by President Duterte was a mere political favor, saying such an accusation was not fair.
“I cannot accept that because I’ve campaigned for several presidents and I’ve never asked to be given pardon,” he said in a media briefing. “And if that were the case, then I should have been given [full] pardon already by former President Fidel V. Ramos.”
The actor was given absolute pardon by President Duterte on Tuesday during their meeting at Malacañang.
The pardon restores Padilla’s civil and political rights, meaning he can freely travel abroad, exercise his right to vote and run for political office, among others.
He was convicted for illegal possession of firearms in 1994 and was sentenced to a maximum of eight years in prison. He was released after a conditional pardon granted by then president Fidel V. Ramos, during which he had already spent four years in prison.
Padilla has been a vocal supporter of President Duterte and even campaigned for him. However, he said that he has also done favors for past presidents, but never asked for executive clemency.
“[Former President] Erap Estrada made me go to Abu Sayaff. I have done work for former Presidents Gloria Arroyo and even Noynoy Aquino, but I’ve never asked for my pardon [in exchange],” said Padilla, adding that asking for clemency through the proper process was his right.
He pointed out he never hurt or killed anybody. “I already paid for my sins inside the New Bilibid Prison,” he said.
His lawyer, Rudolf Philip Jurado, said he filed for a petition for absolute pardon before the Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP) in August, along with talent manager Elizabeth Vidanes.
Arranged without the actor’s knowledge, Jurado told reporters that the restrictions of the conditional pardon had affected Padilla’s work in show business.
The BPP recommended the pardon and was endorsed to the Palace by the Department of Justice.
Padilla told reporters that he earlier arranged for an appointment with Mr. Duterte to discuss his elder sister Rema’s work in public hospitals. But it came as a surprise when the chief executive handed him his pardon papers instead.
“I have never seen such light in my whole life,” Padilla said of the President’s move. “Symbolically, the Philippine republic says that I am a decent man, and I am given a second chance even as an ex-convict.”
He added, “When I saw the President’s signature, all I wanted to do was immediately run to the US Embassy.”
He called the President’s decision his “rebirth,” adding to the joy over the birth of his first child with television host Mariel Rodriguez.
A dual citizen, Rodriguez gave birth to daughter Maria Isabella in the United States, without Padilla by her side.
The actor noted that he has avoided talk with the President about holding office in his administration.
“Politics is for Rommel,” he added, referring to his older brother. SFM