Actress Claudine Barretto. File photo
Court junks actress' theft complaint vs ex-maids
MANILA - Claudine Barretto is facing theft charges anew, this time from two personal assistants whom the actress also accused of stealing from her.
The "Mula sa Puso" star alleged in a qualified theft complaint that Jennifer Murillo and Malou Pecher, both former helpers, stole from her Louis Vuitton bags in August 2013.
The complaint was junked in a resolution announced Friday by the Marikina Regional Trial Court, where Murillo and Pecher earlier filed counter-charges against their former employer.
The court has since dismissed the cases of grave coercion and grave threat against Barretto, but will hear the robbery complaint against the actress, according to Murillo and Pecher's camp.
Murillo accused Barretto of stealing several of her belongings, including a portable media player, a cellphone, a speaker, as well as her passport and ID's. Pecher, on the other hand, alleged the actress stole her two cellphones.
The qualified theft case against the two were dismissed with the help of Barretto's estranged husband, actor Raymart Santiago, who testified in support of Murillo and Pecher's sworn statements.
Claudine Barretto's former personal assistants Malou Pecher and Jennifer Murillo. ABS-CBN News
Asked why she thinks Barretto accused her and Pecher of theft, Murillo said, "Hindi ko po alam. Ano lang, dahilan lang niya 'yon kasi wala siyang mai-ano kay Sir Raymart, kaya pati kami dinadamay niya."
Barretto has filed for a motion to suspend proceedings, Murillo's camp said, to temporarily stop a possible issuance of an arrest warrant against the her.
Santiago similarly helped another former employee, Dessa Patilan, who was jailed for 10 months after she was accused by Barretto of stealing a watch worth P1.8 million, and several jewelry amounting to P8.5 million.
As with Murillo and Pecher's case, Santiago testified in favor of Patilan when her camp applied for bail. Barretto's estranged sister, actress Gretchen, posted the P60,000 bail for Patilan in March.
Santiago also has ongoing legal battle with Barretto, who accused him of "physical, sexual, psychological and economic" abuse.
In the actor's counter-affidavit responding to Claudine's allegations, Gretchen and two other Barretto siblings, JJ and Marjorie, alleged their youngest sister is mentally ill and has a history of drug abuse. -- with a report from Ginger Conejero, ABS-CBN News