A week after Father’s Day, Leon Barretto, the only son of showbiz personalities Dennis Padilla and Marjorie Barretto, penned a heartfelt open letter in response to his estranged father’s Instagram post where Dennis lamented that his children forgot to greet him on June 19.
The 19-year-old revealed that he has been contemplating whether writing to his father online was “the best way to do so”, but since social media is his father’s “preferred way to reach [them], [then] maybe he can try it too.”
“Sorry if I was not able to greet you [with] a “Happy Father’s Day.” It’s always been an awkward day for us [because] we never seem to know where we stand with you every year,” Leon told his father.
“I’ve always envied people who never even have to think twice about greeting their dads a ‘Happy Father’s Day,’” he added.
Leon also claimed that Dennis continuously burns the bridge that he and his siblings are “trying so hard to slowly rebuild” every time he speaks about their “private matters in press cons, interviews, and [his] social media [account].”
According to Leon, “the few times” that they do talk to their father to resolve their issues, Dennis’ “shouting, cursing, and using hurtful words” leaves them traumatized.
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In a now-deleted post, Dennis gained public sympathy after posting that the Barretto children forgot to greet him last Father’s Day, and that he misses and loves them.
In response, Leon asked, “Is public sympathy really more important to you than your own children?”
“Your words have the power to destroy your children, Papa,” he added.
Leon also said that he penned the post as “the only man in the family,” stepping up to protect his sisters who never once spoke ill about their father but frequently “gets torn into pieces” because of Dennis’ alleged false narratives in public.
Despite this, Leon wishes to still be able to someday greet Dennis on Father’s Day and “know that it comes from a place of gratitude and healing.”
Because of his heartfelt letter, Leon earned praises online from Filipinos who sympathize with the Barretto children’s pain. The Barretto kin also received prayers for healing and forgiveness.
“It makes me cry and I can feel the pain on Leon’s letter.. I can see Leon will be a good father in the future.. Sometimes the pain and trauma make us more burden when those people who attach us or who hurt us is our family.. And I’m praying one day FORGIVENESS is going to be above stay safe kids,” a Facebook user commented.
Others resonate with Leon’s sentiment about fathers protecting their children in public and private.
“Not a fan of Barreto’s but this really [hurts] ‘Papa, why does it seem like you enjoy hurting your kids in public?’ – Leon. Every father should protect their children in public and in private, he should be their first line of defense and every [kid] deserve this. Well, every story has two sides,” a Facebook user said.
Hours after Leon’s post, Dennis responded with another Instagram post, apologizing to his son.
“I am sorry Leon, miss ko lang kayo. God bless you more.” Dennis questioned what false narrative[s] he said in public and said that he has been reaching out for 15 years.
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Marjorie and Dennis separated in 2007.