Mark Tadeo Lapid is a prominent figure in both the political arena and local showbizlandia. The 27-year-old son of Senator Lito Lapid is evidently following the footsteps of his dad.
Mark's political career began earlier than the senator. To date, he is the youngest governor elected in the country. He was 24 when he assumed the said post. His dad became the governor of Pampangueños at the age of 40.
But unlike the senator, who starred in about 17 films before he reached the age of 27, the younger Lapid has so far appeared in eight movies to date. His last film, before he got busy with his campaign activities, was Tatlong Baraha, an entry to the MMFF (Metro Manila Filmfest) last year.
With the May 14 elections already looming over the horizon, Mark cannot afford to take off his public servant's hat. Political analysts describe Pampanga politics as "intense," and the action star-politician has to maintain his concentration.
And while his attention is focused on beating his political rivals, tinseltown's prying eyes are currently fixed on him due to rumors that he is already "married" and is now a "dad."
PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) broke the news yesterday, May 9, 2007, that the action star-politician is already a "married man" and "a father," contrary to documents that he filed with Comelec stating that he is still single and without child.
"Maria Lapid", whose email was received by PEP on May 7, claimed that she's a close friend of Mark's "wife," and that she has the "permission" of the latter to let the people know "what Mark T Lapid is doing to his wife and his 1st baby.''The wife's name, according to our source, is Yuri Park, and they have a baby who is currently one year and eight months old.
"BABY" NEWS. On March 2, 2007, Mark's girlfriend Tanya Garcia admitted that she was already two months pregnant with his child.
She said in a PEP article, "I'm happy na magiging mommy na ako. Mahilig at matiyaga naman ako sa bata. Excited na nga ako na kinakabahan kaya I'm really praying na maging maayos lahat."
Three days before Tanya's admission, Dolly Anne Carvajal reported in her column in a major broadsheet about the actor-politician's confirmation. "Ayokong maging subject pa kami ng blind items and speculations so I admitted it right away," said Mark.
"Our baby will be the third apo [the first two courtesy of Mark's two sisters], but the first to carry our surname," added Mark.
And here lies the contradiction.
The divorce papers emailed by Maria stated that Mark has a baby named "MARIA CASANDRA PARK LAPID," and born on "September 22, 2005." The said documents were filed by a certain MARK T. LAPID on February 12, 2007, at the District Court of Clark County in Nevada.
Maria also narrated in her email, "In the fall of 2005, all the members of the Lapid family, including Senator Lito Lapid, and Miss Park's family went to the USA to celebrate the birth of Mark T. Lapid and Miss Park's baby.
"They were so happy, more so Mark T. Lapid as this was his first and only baby. As Miss Park's condition was critical, he stayed with her in the hospital and was even with her in the operating room. He cut his first baby's naval string and gave the baby girl the name 'Maria Cassandra Park Lapid.'"
"MARRIED" NEWS. The second son of Senator Lapid fell in love with Yuri in 2004, this is again, according to Maria.
It will be recalled that in March 2004, Mark admitted that he was wooing Kris Aquino, a famous TV actress. Their relationship reportedly ended in June 2004.
The email of Maria mentioned the brief relationship of Mark with Kris: "When Mark T. Lapid met Miss Park for the first time in the Philippines, he confessed that he had a relationship with an ‘old woman' who helped him in his first bid for the gubernatorial seat. He won the election [May 2004] but he told her that he had a hard time because the ‘old woman' stuck with him."
On March 31, 2006, as stated in the marriage certificate emailed to PEP, Mark and Yuri were married at the Vegas Wedding Chapel, 320 South 3rd Street, Las Vegas, by Reverend Jon T. Diegel.
A few days later, Mark's name was linked to Cristine Reyes. The Los Angeles Newsweek, a newspaper in the US catering to Asian Americans, reported that the governor would drive from Pampanga to Manila twice a week to visit the younger sister of Ara Mina.
"When Miss Park asked him about Cristine Reyes, he said it was only a promotional act for their movie," Maria said. Mark and Cristine starred in Apoy sa Dibdib ng Samar which was released in April 2006.
Maria continued that on February 9, 2007, Mark "asked her [Yuri] for a divorce" while they were in Hong Kong. And this was also the time when the Mark-Tanya relationship erupted in the news.
YURI AND CASEY. In Yuri's signed email to PEP, she said "I got shock [sic] and I live with much pain now. He suddenly asked me to divorce without any explanations.
"And even he lied to US court to file divorce by himself. I hope you understand me that I have to decide to make people know about him. He is dishonest and immoral man."
Yuri said she lost touch with Mark after their meeting in Hong Kong. The father of his son, according to her, would not answer her phone calls. She also made it clear that her decision to contact the media has nothing to do with politics.
"This early, her daddy has discontinued child support," Mark's wife confessed to Maria.
But the divorce papers filed by Mark clearly stated that the action star-politician should be supporting the "minor child" with $200 monthly.
AFTERMATH? Although Yuri firmly said that her revelations have nothing to do with politics, people still couldn't help but question her motives. Why did she choose to break her silence a few days before the elections? What did she hope to gain?
As for Mark—if all of Yuri's claims are true—he has to settle things first with his "wife." This is a "marital" dispute, and whatever decision the couple will both arrive at is none of the public's business.
But why did Mark keep mum about his civil status? He must have his personal reasons. In the first place, the media never bothered asking him. Why did he fail to mention that he already has a "daughter"? Again, he must also have his valid reasons.
But whether Yuri is telling the truth or just fabricating facts, Mark has to always remember that as a public servant—"honesty is the best policy" at all times, in all places.
What about Tanya? She said, "alam ko na 'yan." If her statement implies that she'll be standing by her man, will such a decision do her and the baby more good than bad?
The people who may have something to gain here would be Mark's political rivals. Yesterday, incumbent Pampanga Vice Governor Yeng Guiao filed a disqualification case against his former runningmate.
(Lapid and Guiao united during May 2004 elections when they ran as a tandem for the governor and vice governor posts, respectively.)
Guiao showed Mark's COC (Certificate of Candidacy) which stated the action star-politician's civil status as "single."
Mark Lapid is now busy with his campaign activities. He said he will issue his official statement after the May 14 elections.