ROBIN Padilla is looking forward to meeting his new daughter, Maria Isabella, soon. The actor articulated again his desire to travel to the United States to see his wife, television host Mariel Rodriguez, and their newborn baby. Padilla is hopeful that the absolute pardon granted by President Rodrigo Duterte for his previous conviction would help him secure a US travel visa. "Umaasa kami na makakatulong ito. Gusto ko nang pumunta ng US Embassy, gusto ko ng i-submit doon kasi andoon na (ang isip ko). Andoon na ang isip ko sa asawa ko, sa anak ko," he said. Rodriguez gave birth last November 14 in the US, while Padilla stayed in Manila because he had problems securing travel documents.
Now that Duterte granted him executive clemency, Padilla said it did not only restore his hopes to be with his wife and daughter, but also gave him a new lifeline. Padilla said he's a "new man." "Double celebration. Sabi ni Mariel, parang magka-birthday kami ng anak ko kasi ipinanganak siya, ipinanganak din ako. Well, born again ako (dahil sa pardon na ito)," he said. The actor maintained though that he never asked for absolute pardon from Duterte. Padilla pointed out that he's been close to past and present presidents but he never requested to be given executive clemency. "Kung ako gusto ko ito, kay FVR (Fidel Ramos) pa lang, kay Erap (Joseph Estrada), kay Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, kay PNoy (Benigno Aquino III) dahil nakasama ko si Kris (Aquino), napakadaling sabihinin pero hindi ko ginawa yan. Ni sa pangarap hindi ko ginawa kasi sa akin, okay na ako e. Tanggap ko na ito." That's why when Duterte handed out the documents bearing the decision, it came as a big surprise. "Iba ang nasa isip ko. Akala ko ito na talaga, hindi na ako makakatanggi dito. Ang iniisip ko talaga ay appointment kasi kung meron kaming bagay na iniiwasan, yan yun. Sabi ko baka ito na yun," he added. "Nung nakita ko na yung 'pardon,' nawala na ako ng ulirat. Hindi ko alam kung totoo ito or panaginip ito," she said.
To recall, Padilla was convicted for illegal possession of firearms in 1994 and sentenced to a 21-year prison term. He was granted conditional pardon by former president Fidel Ramos in 1997 but it did not restore his civil and political rights. With the granting of the absolute pardon by the Duterte, Padilla can now exercise his right to vote, could run for public office and accept government appointed position.