Dennis Padilla opened up about his shortcomings as a father to his kids Julia Barretto, Claudia Barretto, and Leon Barretto.
He appeared on the ABS-CBN late night program Tonight With Boy Abunda last night, October 13, to promote the film The Barker, which marks his directorial debut.
The comedian-turned-director revealed that his relationship with his three children, with former wife Marjorie Barretto, has improved since their rift in 2013.
He said, "Ngayon mas okey na sila dahil hindi na namin pinag-usapan yung naging problema noong 2014, noong 2013. Hindi na namin pinag-uusapan."
Around that time, Dennis and his daughters Julia and Claudia were caught in a legal battle when the latter party filed a petition to change their surname from Baldivia, Dennis's real surname, to Barretto.
Dennis eventually gave up on the legal battle in 2015, and has since sought to reconcile with his children.
He continued, "That's why the first time I saw them again, wala lang, niyakap ko lang.
"I said, 'I love you, I miss you.'
"Kapag nagte-text ako sa kanila, tinatanong ko na lang lagi, 'Kailan ba kayo mag-a-available? Dinner na lang tayo.'
"Kapag sinabi niyang, 'I'm busy this week.' Hindi na ako masyadong... alam mo iyon?
"Dati masyado kang aggressive, iyong parang gusto mo na nakawin yung oras.
"Pero ngayon, hindi na.
"Hindi pala puwede kasi kailangan hindi mo siya puwersahin. Kailangan dahan-dahan din yung paglapit sa kanila."
REGRETS. Dennis did not deny that there were periods in the past when he failed to be a good provider to his children.
Without going into detail, he acknowledged, "There was one time talaga noong hindi ako maka-provide nang maayos kila Julia hanggang kila Leon.
"Kung anuman ang pagkukulang ko sa kanila, e hiningi ko naman ng patawad sa kanila at hinihingi ko na rin ng patawad doon sa ating Panginoon na patawarin niyo ako kung ano yung pagkukulang ko."
He said it was unfortunate that he wasn't present for most of his kids' growing-up years.
"Ang regret ko lang kasi noong mga growing years ng mga bata, ng mga anak ko, I was not there.
"For many years, hindi ko na-experience kina Julia, Claudia, saka Leon, yung binibihisan ko sila, hinahatid ko sila sa eskuwelahan.
"Mula noong naghiwalay kami, hindi ko na-experience na makatabi ko sila pagtulog.
"Iyon yung pinakamahirap na part noong paghihiwalay."
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RECONNECT. At this point, Dennis has learned to be patient when it came to reestablishing his relationships with his kids.
But the comedian hoped that Julia, Claudia, and Leon would also take the effort to reach out to him.
He pointed out, "Kasi for many, many years, ako iyong nagri-reach out doon sa mga anak ko.… Kapag ikaw lang at ikaw ang nagri-reach out, dumadating iyong time na napapagod ka pala.
"Ayoko dumating yung time na kapag gusto niyo akong yayayin, hindi niyo na ako mayaya, dahil nakahiga na lang ako sa kama or nakakabaong na ako.
"Ayoko naman gano'n.
"Sana dumating yung mga taon o yung mga time na sana sila naman mag-reach out sa akin."