MANILA – Actress Gretchen Barretto is eyeing legal action against her own sister Gia Barretto-Reyes, in the latest development in the controversial spat among the members of their family.
In an interview with entertainment website Pep.ph editor-in-chief Jo-Ann Maglipon, Gretchen said she was advised by her lawyers in Manila and the United States to "keep mum" and "let the case speak for itself."
"Masakit itong gagawin kong hakbang pero kinakailangan para makamit ko ang aking katahimikan," Gretchen said of the plan to bring the matter to the court.
Asked by Pep.ph whether the case will be filed in the US, where Gia is currently based, Gretchen said: "Yes, Gia is based in Boston. Our local lawyers, the Siguion-Reyna group, advised that we take action there."
The report said that Gretchen did not reveal whether she also plans on taking any legal action against her mother Inday, who has called her a "liar".
The latest feud to rock the Barrettos stemmed partly from an Instagram post, supposedly made by Gretchen, saying that Claudine is not happy that their niece Julia is starting to make a name for herself in showbiz.
Julia, the second daughter of Marjorie Barretto, was recently introduced as an artist of Star Magic, the ABS-CBN talent management firm that launched Claudine to stardom until her transfer to another network in 2009.
Their mother Inday, however, denied this, saying that Claudine would not do anything to ruin Julia's career.
Since the feud between Inday and Gretchen began, subsequent statements addressing the issue have been made by Barretto siblings Joaquin and Gia. The latter sided with her mother and youngest sister, while Joaquin sided with Gretchen, saying Claudine's "condition" should be addressed.
Gia, in a letter sent to entertainment columnist Ricky Lo which was published in The Philippine Star, said she respects Gretchen's supposed decision not to be part of their family.
"I respect that you do not want to be part of our family. At this point, we welcome it. Not at any point do I ever recall us forcing you to be part of us, but we have never also alienated you during the times when you wanted to be with us. Even during the times when you battled with one of us. I say us because you have time and time again made extreme efforts to push us — mom, dad and all of us — away," Gia said in the statement.
"You have hurt us in ways that put the word decency to shame, you have had no rules when you attacked us. If the attack were physical, then it would be bearable. Bruises heal. But the attack has always been vicious, below the belt and so evil that the wound borne from it cannot heal. It is done repeatedly and unsparingly with permanent damage in mind. You have tried to put mom and dad to shame with empty allegations without thinking that you, whether you like it or not, came from them. You ridicule them in front of friends, strangers and us. And, you expect us to just take it," she added.
Gia also belied claims by her brother Joaquin that Gretchen has been supporting their family since she was 12 years old. According to Gia, it was Claudine -- not Gretchen -- who helped their family during trying times.