MANILA, Philippines - Actress Claudine Barretto on Sunday condoled with the family of AJ Perez who died in a vehicular accident last April 17.
During the young actor's wake at Christ the King Church, Barretto told reporters that she got the chance to work with Perez in the defunct television drama series "Iisa Pa Lamang."
Barretto said she also attended the wake to support Perez' girlfriend, Steph Ayson. She believes that Ayson is going through the same pain she felt when her ex-boyfriend Rico Yan passed away 9 years ago.
Yan, one of the most in-demand actors of his generation, suddenly died of acute hemorrhagic pancreatitis at the Dos Palmas Resort in Palawan on March 29, 2002.
"Siyempre alam naman natin na hindi madali ang pinagdadaanan ng bata. What happened to me is happening now to Steph," said Barretto, who is close to the Ayson family.
"Although 21 na ako noong nangyari sa akin 'yun, she's 17 pa lang. Mahirap kasi it had to happen to somebody who's close to me. So masakit para sa akin na makita 'yun, malungkot," she added.
Barretto said it may take some time before Ayson can cope with Perez' death, but assured that she will always be there to support her and her family.
"I told her na it's going to take a long time. It would hurt some more, lalo na kapag dumating ang libing. I told her also that Raymart and I will always be here for her and her family," she said.
"Nandito lang kami nagdadasal at the same time sa parents ni AJ, bilang ako parent din ay napakahirap. Nandito ako para makiramay," the actress added.
Perez, together with his father, 2 road managers, a driver and an event marshal met a vehicular accident last April 17 after doing a show in Dagupan, Pangasinan.
The 18-year-old actor's remains will be interred at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City on Tuesday, April 26.