MANILA – Gretchen Barretto finally broke her silence to explain why she testified for Raymart Santiago against her younger sister Claudine late last year.
In an emotional interview with “Buzz ng Bayan” host Boy Abunda, Barretto said she does not hate Claudine but she had to testify against her because she was summoned by the court.
“Sinali ni Claudine ako, si Jayjay and si Marjorie sa kanyang affidavit against Raymart. We were forced to come out and do the affidavit against Claudine to defend ourselves. I was summoned by the court,” she said.
Saying her move was only in reaction to Claudine’s statements, Barretto said: “Hindi ko desisyon mag-isa yun. Nag-usap usap kaming magkakapatid… Right now, we all know that Claudine is not well. We cannot save her and she refuses for us to help her. Claudine filed a criminal case against Raymart which means that if Claudine prospers, Raymart will be put into jail for a crime he did not commit.”
“We know that as a family. Kung may mangyari kay Claudine because she is not well and Raymart is put into jail, anong mangyayari kay Sabina and Santino,” she added.
Barretto said it was never her intention to betray her sister, adding that everything she said in court was only "the truth."
“I did not betray her. I only spoke the truth as I know it. It is the right thing to do. I don’t hate my sister. I hate what she’s doing. I hate the cases that she’s filed. But I want the old Claudine back. Claudine, bunso namin yan. She was a doll. Patayuin mo yan and she will sing a whole song at age two. She was the most generous and loving and kind person. Along somewhere, I don’t know what happened. She just lost it,” she said.
Row with parents
Barretto also addressed what her parents allegedly said that they are planning to sue her.
“Right away my lawyer called me. I was in London. About that thing, you know what they told me? ‘Gretchen, that is the best thing your parents can do for you because with that, if they sue you for libel, you’re free, you can really tell your story and you can fight it out and we are with you all the way,’” she said.
Saying she is ready to face her parents, Barretto said: “I don’t know when it’s going to end. If they do that, I’ll welcome it, I’ll embrace it, I’ll go through it even if I doubt if I have the strength to go through it again and re-live the abuse. Masakit na tawagin kang liar. That’s all I have, Boy, my credibility.”
According to Barretto, the family feud that the public is witnessing is nothing different from her experience growing up.
“The words that come out of their mouths, the stories, pinagdaanan ko yun as a child. The nastiness that everyone’s witnessing is nothing compared to the actual harm done to me and to my siblings. Sometimes tinatanong ko sarili ko, ano ba ako, bato? Parang wala na akong nararamdaman kundi takot, galit,” she said.
“I don’t know how to feel anymore when you say nanay or tatay. Hindi ko alam yun. Hindi ko alam yung pakiramdam na kung masakit ang tiyan mo or ulo mo, or may problema ka, meron kang matatakbuhang nanay na yayakap sayo and say ‘It’s okay, I’m here for you,’” she added.
The actress, meantime, denied reports that her mother and Santiago have patched this up.
“Gawa-gawa lang nila yun. Wala namang ganun talagang nangyayari, wala namang pinaabot talaga sa amin. Kung talagang there was anything like that, sana may nilapitan sila and they know how pero wala talaga,” she said.
As to comments that the Barretto family is an example of a dysfunctional family, Barretto said: “The overwhelming feeling is deep pain and shame because it’s true. Kapag totoo, masakit. It’s very difficult to acknowledge the truth but it’s all out, I have no choice but to embrace it.”
The actress said she can only hope and pray that this row will eventually end.