MANILA, Philippines - Rumors about actress Claudine Barretto's extra-marital affair with a married man spread like wildfire in the past weeks.
Barretto, who vehemently denied the allegations, has already pointed her finger at 23-year-old star Angelica Panganiban as the source of the controversy -- through her Twitter account and a number of media interviews. She is reportedly planning to file a case against the young actress.
Panganiban, for her part, has maintained her silence.
Both actresses are considered one of the best and most popular stars of their generations.
But the guy caught in the middle of the tiff, Martin Castro, is a non-celebrity guy who happened to be friends with Barretto's and Panganiban's partners, Raymart Santiago and Derek Ramsay, respectively.
After news about the Claudine-Angelica rift came out, however, Castro has become an Internet sensation of sorts. Last week, he was the top newsmaker among Filipinos, according to search engine Google.
Castro was the most searched personality in Google Philippines from September 3 to 8, followed by local and Hollywood celebrities, recording artists and famous athletes.
"Claudine Barretto's Twitter posts against Angelica Panganiban heated up in response to Angelica (allegedly) spreading a rumor that Claudine is having an affair with Martin Castro," Google Philippines said in a statement.
Reports said that the issue started last July at a party held at Castro's home. Barretto, Panganiban and Ramsay were reportedly present there.
Below is the full list of the top newsmakers from September 3 to 8, as listed by Google Philippines:
1. Martin Castro
2. Stephen Hawking
3. Paris Hilton
4. Coco Martin
5. US Embassy Manila
6. Bruno Mars
7. Taylor Swift
8. Manny Pacquiao
9. Vanessa Hudgens
10. Toyota Philippines
Meanwhile, here is the full list of the fastest rising news in the Philippines in the past week:
1. Sept 10 holiday
2. US Open 2010
3. Philippine Information Agency
4. FIBA 2010
5. The Last Exorcism
6. iPod Touch
7. Tawa tawa
8. Glee season 2
9. Samsung Galaxy S
10. Billboard top 100