MANILA, Philippines - Long relegated to the place of the other woman, and homewrecker by her detractors, late Congressman Iggy Arroyo's controversial partner Grace Ibuna comes to her own defense.
"For the record, I am not a mistress, neither am I a whore," Ibuna said on ANC's "Headstart."
"Ang kabit when you are still living together in one home, share the same bed with you wife, your real married wife, at may tinatago kang babae, that's a mistress. In his case, they were separated... How could I be a mistress, ako yung pinapakilala sa Negros."
"Please don't misconstrue me. Kung hindi na kayo masaya, bakit pa."
Grace went as far as saying, Iggy abhorred Aleli.
"Pinapahiya siya parati, that's what our friends told me."
Thus began Ibuna's spirited defense of her reputation, a week after Iggy's funeral.
"In London, there's such a thing as domestic partnership. kahit hindi kayo kasal... if you're not physically together, living under one roof for five years... you are considered actually divorced."
"The whole six years that we've been going there, ako lang naman yung nakikita nila e, wala naman silang nakitang iba na kasama ni Iggy e."
After all the bad things Aleli has said about Grace, Grace says she sees no room for reconciliation.
"How after the malignment, after all the hurt she inflicted on me and my family...For five months, we were on a roller coaster ride fighting for Iggy's health. Namatayan ako bigla-biglaan in one day. Hindi ko matanggap. Masakit. Tapos I have a legal battle to contend with."
With Iggy and Aleli's annulment case in court, and the marriage itself in question pending the registration of the annulment of Iggy's first marriage, Grace says, Aleli is in no position to judge her.
"For the record, she is not the first wife, she's only the second wife, para kaming 'Mano Po'," she said, referring to a similar situation pertaining to multiple spouses in depicted in Philippine movies.
"The way she speaks, she's so righteous and I don't think that's right."
"A dutiful wife. What does it mean? Kanya na yung Arroyo last name. I'm not after that, I'm happy with Iggy's love."
Grace reveals, Iggy suffered through his final days battling his liver ailment, and that she suffered alongside him, but notes she did not raise a hand to end his suffering as Aleli's camp claims.
"The side effect of his medication was very severe... He was fighting it out and I really believed he would get well... We could've gotten a nurse or maid, I chose to take care of him myself."
"In London, there is no such thing as a plug... Ewan ko kung anong klaseng plug yung pinaguusapan nila."
She insists, he has also been falsely accused by Aleli's camp as claiming to be Iggy's next of kin.
"I dare them to show any documents to that effect... It was Iggy's handwriting certified by the hospital because eh was very much alive. In every procedure he went thru, he signed me as next of kin. I have all those documents. Why would I pretend to be Misis if I'm not. Hindi naman ako ganoon ka-desperado."
Through it all, Grace says, Aleli never reached out to Iggy as she claims, adding that neither did she extend him the courtesy of spending time with their child, Alelu.
"That's a lie. If we had that desire for him to live, she wouldn't have sought the best help for him to get well... Did she do any effort para ipagaling si Iggy ng tama? Pero ako pinikit ko mata ko sa lahat, sa gastos, sa oras."
"Kung kailan namatay si Iggy, tsaka nya kukunin. Nung may sakit si Iggy, wala siyang pakialam. Nasaan siya? Why now na patay na siya?"
"Ni hindi niya pinahiram yung anak niya. Di ba sabi ni (Alelu) that's my only regret, I didn't spend much time with my dad?"
Grace says, as she grieves Iggy's loss today, only her faith and her love for him sustain her.
She adds, she is prepared to fight it out amid a looming court battle for his estate.
"Pinakiusapan ko siya thru my lawyer. Sabi ko if there's a little love left in you, the respect left in you for Iggy, please let's bury him in peace... Sabi ko, ano ba gusto niya pera lang? Pera lang pala, pag-usapan na lang namin. Pauwiin mo lang kami ni Iggy ng tahimik, and I was just following Iggy's wishes till the end. Masama pa ba ako noon."
"I'm trustworthy, dahil never ako nag-ikot para magdeplete ng bank account ni Iggy... Di ba inikot niya at winithdraw lahat ng bank account nila?"
Today, Grace says, Iggy left nothing for Aleli. But asked if there is anything in Iggy's will for his daughter with Aleli, Grace answers in the affirmative.
"Yes, and I intend to honor that. That's my promise to Iggy. I will keep all my promises to him."
But Grace admits, no matter how the legal battle ends, she would forever be at a loss.
"I am fighting for Iggy... Gusto ko lang humiga at humagulgol... Mahirap yung sanay ka pag gising mo, siya ang kausap mo. Ang hirap nung kakain ka hihintayin mo, walang dadating... Manalo man ako sa lahat ng kaso, I still lose because I lost Iggy."