Benjie Paras explains cause of sons’ ‘trauma’
MANILA — After going on record to ask her sons to face her, Jackie Forster, it seems, can’t expect a happy reunion anytime soon.
Kobe and Andre Paras, the former actress’ children with ex-husband, actor-athlete Benjie Paras, are convinced that their mother is only out for publicity with her recent actions to supposedly get in touch with them.
After posting a music video on YouTube containing a message for her sons, Forster sat down for a nationally televised interview on “The Buzz” aired last Sunday to relate her struggle in communicating with her children.
During a press conference for their contract-signing with Viva Artists Agency on Thursday, Kobe and Andre were asked to address the recent steps made by Forster to reach out to them.
The 15-year-old Kobe didn’t mince words in saying he hasn’t given a thought to his mother’s pleas.
“Wala, I don’t care, kasi I’m happy with the life I have now. I have a new mom, she’s better and she treats us the way that we want to, and not like what she (Forster) did to us,” Kobe said, referring to his step-mother, Lyxen Diomampo.
Paras and Forster were married in 1994, but separated in 2001. Their marriage was annulled in 2003.
In 2007, Forster left for Singapore, and eventually moved to Malaysia. She started a new family with her Dutch husband.
Paras has full custody of both his children with Forster, and is now married to Diomampo, a former preschool teacher and commercial model. The couple have two children — Sam, 3, and Riley, 6.
“I’m happy with my life and I’m just focusing on the good side,” Kobe said. “I won’t focus on the bad side, because past is the past, and we’re already ahead to the future. I’m just going to focus now, and I’m not going to mind it.”
The 17-year-old Andre echoed his brother’s statement, adding that they gave asked Forster to stop going public with her appeal to reconnect with them.
“We told her to stop before and I don’t know what… I mean, we told her to stop, and what she’s doing now, parang it doesn’t… It’s not sinking in [for] her. So ‘yun, nakakainis lang talaga, eh. Now, she’s not listening talaga,” he said.
The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons player said he feels the YouTube video uploaded by Forster was not intended for them, but rather, was a move to draw publicity.
“I can say it’s not for us,” said Andre, prompting Kobe to audibly agree.
Andre continued, “It’s for the public. You can tell it’s for the public, because if she wants it to be for us, she could, like, send it personally.”
In the YouTube video, Forster showed a montage of happy moments with her two sons as children. Addressing both her children in a message flashed on screen, Forster noted she hasn’t held them for 8 years, since March 2005.
She said she has made several attempts to see her sons.
Andre and Kobe, in an earlier interview, asked Forster to give them “space,” citing the “trauma” she had caused them. The former actress later said she was clueless as to what traumatizing thing she had done to them.
On Friday, during the same press conference held by Viva, Paras recalled at length the events that led to his sons cutting ties with their mom.
“Ganito po ‘yan, ano. Linawin ko po. Ang nangyari kasi 5 years ago — linawin ko lang, wala po akong sasabihing masama, never naman po ako nagsasabi — hindi lang maganda.
“Five years ago, nando’n siya (Forster), may kasama siyang lawyer sa bahay, in our house. Pumunta siya ro’n, kinausap niya ako, dahil nando’n daw sa rule na meron siyang visitation rights,” Paras said.
The former PBA star related that he agreed thrice to let Forster talk to their children. The first two times, according to Paras, Kobe and Andre asked their mother to give them space.
“And then ‘yung pangatlong balik niya, meron siyang kasamang taga-DSWD, social worker nga. Ang trabaho kasi no’n is to observe. So ang nangyari, naunang kausapin si Kobe, tapos dumating si Andre, nakita ni Andre na iyak nang iyak si Kobe,” Paras said.
Paras related that the social worker had some harsh words to say to Kobe, when the boy refused to go with Forster.
“Ang sinasabi nito (Kobe) kasi is he doesn’t want to go with her, na dito nalang siya, sa bago niyang mom. Ang sagot ng social worker, ‘Hindi mo s’ya totoong nanay, step mom mo siya. Ito ang nanay mo, so sumama ka sa kanya,’” Paras said.
He continued, “So medyo hindi yata tama, ‘diba, so dun medyo nakita ko umiiyak. And then dumating na si Andre, kinausap niya ulit ‘yung nanay niya, and sinabi nga niya, ‘Give us time, we’re not yet ready.’”
The “Got to Believe” actor said he isn’t concerned with the public’s perception of his sons’ estrangement with their mother, which might paint him as the “bad person” in the picture.
“Ang sa akin naman, kung hindi pa sila ready, ako ang magagawa ko lang is to guide them and give advice. Pero hindi ko na sila pwede pilitin,” he said.
He added that he wouldn’t totally discount the possibility of his sons reconciling with Forster.
“Sa akin naman eventually, marami akong cases na nakikitang ganyan, later on, pag medyo matanda na ‘yung mga anak, nakakalimutan na lahat eh, it’s time to forgive na and to make things work for each other. So siguro ‘yun nalang po ang antayin natin,” he said.