Claudine breaks her silence

FUNFARE - Ricky Lo () - July 19, 2004 - 12:00am
First, the good news: Claudine Barretto has finally made peace with the Yans, the family of her late ex-boyfriend Rico Yan, after more than two years of animosity spawned by the untimely death of Rico (in his sleep) on Good Friday of 2002 at Dos Palmas in Puerto Princesa. At that time, it wasn’t known yet that Claudine and Rico had already broken up, so when news came out that Claudine was spending the Lenten weekend in Subic with her then suitor Raymart Santiago, many people, the Yans included, took it against her.

How was the peace-making done?

"I won’t elaborate," said Claudine. "Basta I’m happy na okay na kami ng family ni Rico." (According to the Funfare DPA, Claudine called up Rico’s sister Geraldine. Thus "breaking the ice," the two began the reconciliation process.)

"Now," added Claudine, feeling like a thorn had been extracted from her heart, "I feel better and lighter."

Not really "quite better" – yet.

And now, the bad news: While Claudine has ironed out her differences with the Yan family, she and the other Barrettos are at odds with older sister Gretchen. It’s a family feud that got out of hand.

sources said that it all started when Gretchen helped Willie Revillame get into ABC 5 (owned by Gretchen’s beloved Tonyboy Cojuangco) where Willie, junked by the ABS-CBN noontime show MTB, now hosts the gameshow Puso O Pera (sponsored by the PCSO). Gretchen’s brother-in-law, Dennis Padilla (husband of Gretchen and Claudine’s sister Marjorie), was also dropped from MTB and he reportedly felt that Willie was behind it. So when Gretchen came to Willie’s rescue, Dennis felt slighted and he reportedly told Gretchen, "Why help him (Willie)? Dahil sa kanya, natanggal ako sa MTB. Di mo ba alam na ang ipinakakain ko sa mga pamangkin mo ay galing sa MTB?"

During the ensuing word war, Gretchen reportedly (but denied it vehemently) ordered Dennis (and his family) to leave the P18-million house (somewhere in Quezon City) Gretchen gave Marjorie and Dennis as a gift.

"I’m not that bad a sister to do that," Gretchen told a friend of hers.

More hurting words were reportedly exchanged, pitting the Barrettos against each other.

Saying she would have opted to keep the family feud under wraps and keep it within the family, Claudine tearfully said that she decided to break her silence after Gretchen hinted at it ("Hindi tinumbok pero nagsalita pa rin") during a phone patch with Startalk two Saturdays ago.

"There’s no bad blood between Willie and Kuya Dennis," said Claudine. "Friends sila. Malalim ang dahilan ng lahat; mas malalim ang issue."

Claudine said that "all the Barrettos" are on her Kuya Dennis’ side.

"Why? Alam namin ang tama sa mali; mas marami kaming alam na totoo kaysa hindi totoo. Mas mahal ko si Kuya Dennis kaysa kay Ate Marjorie that’s why I’m hurt for him. I pity him. All the while he has been keeping quiet even if I know that he’s hurting inside. All I can say is that hindi makapal ang mukha ni Kuya Dennis."

It hurts even more, according to Claudine, because "mahirap kapag powerful ang kalaban, more so if she’s your sister."

Like what happened between her and the Yans, let’s hope that Claudine (and company) will resolve their conflict with Gretchen – maybe tomorrow (July 20) when Claudine and Raymart mark their birthday (she’s turning 25 and he, 30).

Claudine and Raymart have been going steady since Nov. 5, 2002. Hadn’t Claudine’s Canada-based older sister decided to get married in 2005, she and Raymart would have tied the knot next year. (According to Filipino superstition, it’s bad for siblings to get married the same year.) So Claudine and Raymart moved their altar date to 2006. They’re not yet sure though whether it will be a Catholic wedding or a Christian wedding. Raymart is Catholic while Claudine is a Christian (member of the Christian Victory Fellowship).

No conflict there, assured Claudine.

"One week, Raymart attends our service with me. The following week, I hear Mass with him and his family."

This October, they’re moving to their new four-bedroom house in Quezon City, which occupies 700 of the 1,000-square-meter lot Claudine owns. The house and lot are in Claudine’s name. Claudine’s mom, Inday Barretto, might stay with them.

Asked if she and Raymart are sleeping in one room, Claudine broke into a weak smile (remember, she had just let off steam against her Ate Gretchen), "Napaka-sinungaling ko naman kung sasabihin kong hindi, ano?"

Although they plan to have their own kids, Claudine and Raymart have just decided to adopt one, a two-month old girl offered to them for adoption by the mother who’s too poor to give the baby a good future. They’ve named the baby Sabina Natasha, not Marina Raymart as originally planned (Marina was derived from Claudine’s hit ABS-CBN fantaserye Marina where she plays a mermaid.) Friends kidded Claudine that had she and Raymart named the baby Marina Raymart, she would have been nicknamed Marinara (title of the GMA 7 kwela-novela, topbilled by Rufa Mae Quinto, pitted against Marina).

"Sabina has been my lucky charm," said Claudine who revealed that she had been planning to adopt a child since she was 13 so she could have a baby sister. "Answered prayer. She has brought many changes in my life."

Besides Marina, Claudine is busy shooting Lihim, her next Star Cinema assignment after Milan (her hit team-up with Piolo Pascual), in which she co-stars with Jericho Rosales and Diether Ocampo. She’s also a popular endorser (of, among other products, Secosana Bags, Aromance and Solution scents, and the clothing brand Folded and Hung).

Now, the question: Since Sabina is Claudine’s "answered prayer," can she bring the feuding sisters back together?

(E-mail reactions at rickylo@philstar.net.ph)

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