Dr. Vicki Belo and actor Raymart Santigo. Composite image
MANILA - Dermatologist and TV personality Dr. Vicki Belo said she is clueless how the rumors romantically linking her to actor Raymart Santiago started.
Belo was asked about the issue on Thursday, shortly after a press conference launching actress Marian Rivera as her clinic's latest endorser.
"Alam mo, ninang ako ni Raymart and Claudine (Barretto, Santiago's estranged wife) and all I do is talk to them to get back together," Belo told reporters. "That's all I really want. I know it's not impossible with the Lord."
Last week, a report alleged that Santiago supposedly received a P1,050,000 deposit check from Belo in November 2007. The report noted that Santiago was supposedly never an endorser of Belo's clinics, triggering speculation that the two may have been romantically involved at the time.
Santiago and Barretto were married in 2004 in a civil ceremony, which was followed by a Christian wedding two years later. The estranged couple has two children -- 9-year-old Sabina and 7-year-old Santino.
Referring to the report linking her with Santiago, a laughing Belo said, "Ewan ko! Sabi ko, 'Siguro wala na talagang istorya ngayon. Ako na naman!' Atsaka ang pinakamasakit do'n... Nagbabayad na naman ako? Ano ba! Gano'n ba talaga ako ka-pangit? Hoy, excuse me!"
"You know, I don't remember. It's 2007. And I know Claudine never accepts payment for anything, eh," she added. "Pero hindi ko nga alam. Pero sabi nga ni Jobert (Sucaldito, showbiz journalist), wala 'yung pangalan ko do'n sa tseke. Deposit slip lang. So puwedeng imbentuhin 'yan -- 'from Dr. Belo.' Wala namang check number na pinakita. So parang kalokohan lang!"
Belo said she and Santiago have never met without Barretto during their marriage, dismissing rumors of a romantic relationship between them. Now that the couple has separated, Belo said she only ever gets to see Santiago when she visits his restaurant.
"The whole thing -- I don't really know where it comes from," she said. "But I never really, ever in my entire life saw Raymart without Claudine while they were married. And the only times I've seen Raymart after, when they split up, is going to his restaurant and eating his wonderful black paella."
Belo added she has been trying to clarify matters with Barretto, who earlier admitted in an interview that she recently learned of the supposed deposit check. However, they have yet to discuss the situation.
"I've been talking to Claudine, and in fact I called her three days ago. She keeps calling me then I call her back, she doesn't answer, she calls me again, and I'm not near the phone or I'm out."
"I don't really know. I don't know where that came from, honestly."