MANILA - "Karirin na natin 'to!"
This was Claudine Barretto's message for her estranged husband, actor Raymart Santiago, on fulfilling together their responsibilities to their children, following a bitter exchange of lawsuits and scandalous allegations starting last year.
Speaking exclusively with ABS-CBN News' Mario Dumaual, the 34-year-old actress said she and Santiago have been discussing an arrangement concerning their two kids -- 6-year-old Santino and 10-year-old Sabina.
"All I can say is that, thank God, it's gearing towards good signs and good direction para sa mga anak namin at sa amin," Barretto said.
Citing a gag order, the former ABS-CBN star said she cannot discuss the details of possible agreements on financial support, visitation rights to the children, and claims to properties.
Clarifying that they are not back together, Barretto was happy to share that she and her husband recently attended a parent-teacher conference together for one of their kids.
Over the weekend, the actress also posted on Instagram photos of her with her children and Santiago posing inside what appears to be a restaurant. "Happy day," she said in one caption.
"It's also for our kids," Barretto explained. "Sabi ko nga kay Raymart, 'If we failed as husband and wife, let's not fail naman as parents.' Sabi ko, 'Let's partner naman in being good parents. Nakakahiya naman. Karirin na natin 'to!'"
She added: "Ano naman siya, he was very cooperative. I just hope lang na he will comply sa lahat ng mga pinag-uusapan. And I'm sure naman... Sana oo naman, siguro."
The apparent breakthrough came a week after the couple was ordered by a Marikina court to face each other as part of a judicial dispute resolution.
Speaking with ABS-CBN News shortly after the hearing, Santiago appeared optimistic about a possible reconciliation with Barretto.
"Lahat naman din nakukuha sa dasal. Pinagdasal namin na maayos ang lahat. [Masasabi ko] na may Diyos," he said at the time.
Santiago added: "Hindi naman madadaan ang lahat sa mabilisan, lalo na sa pinagdaanan namin. I think more than one year na 'tong tumatakbo, itong kaso. Maganda rin ito, kahit papaano, may liwanag."
Barretto accused Santiago of "physical, sexual, psychological and economic" abuse, supposedly dating back to 2002.
These are detailed in her legal complaint against the actor for his alleged violation of of the Anti-Violence against Women and Their Children Act of 2004.
Santiago also alleged that he was a victim of domestic violence. In his complaint, the actor accused his wife of being mentally ill and having a history of drug abuse, claims backed by the actress' estranged siblings Gretchen, Marjorie, and JJ.
Both Barretto and Santiago have repeatedly mentioned the welfare of their children in explaining why they took the spat to court, and why they are seeking sole custody of the kids.