MANILA, Philippines - Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio on Friday lashed out at rumors romantically linking him to a 14-year-old actress.
Topacio, in a press statement, said teen actress Bea Binene is a close friend and client of his law office.
He said they are helping her pro bono in organizing a charity group for underprivileged children.
"Likewise, we study various other legal matters for her regarding contracts related to her profession. In addition, she has become a close friend of mine through constant interaction. I also greatly admire her as an actress, and as a human being with good intentions and a noble heart," Topacio said.
He expressed regret regarding rumors claiming that they are a couple.
A blog of local tabloid Bandera on Thursday discussed the rumors.
Topacio believes that the rumors were started by those who have an axe to grind against him.
"I appeal to those who have a quarrel with me – whoever they are – and who want to hurt me: please leave Ms. Bea Binene out of it. She has been through a lot of trials in her young life, and she does not deserve to have any more pain inflicted upon her," he said.
"If you want to hit me, hit me alone; I am ready for you any time, any place, anywhere. But please do not hurt Bea! She is special to me and I will do everything in my power to protect her," he added.
He said they are studying their legal options regarding the issue.
"It is my fervent hope and prayer that this unfortunate episode will soon pass, and that this will not affect the trust and friendship that Ms. Binene and I have for each other," he said.