MANILA — Screen veteran and OPM icon Sharon Cuneta broke her silence Tuesday about the “wound” resulting from the competing bids of her husband and uncle for the vice-presidential seat in the 2022 elections.
Cuneta addressed the rift between her immediate family and her maternal relatives through an Instagram post, shortly after she returned to the Philippines from the US where she had accompanied her daughter, Frankie Pangilinan.
Cuneta was overseas when her husband, Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, launched his campaign for vice president, alongside presidential aspirant Leni Robredo, on October 8.
Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, the husband of Cuneta’s maternal aunt, veteran actress Helen Gamboa, is also running for vice president, in tandem with Sen. Panfilo Lacson as aspiring president. They announced their candidacy on September 8.
“I come home with a happy, but heavy heart,” Cuneta said on Tuesday. “Two men I greatly love - one whom I have known since birth, and the other, one I exchanged solemn vows with 25 years ago, are about to vie for the second highest position in the country, and once again, I do not know what I could have done so wrong to find myself in the midst of two rocks. What could I, can I do?”
Sotto and Pangilinan have long been at odds politically, despite their close familial ties.
The two lawmakers’ friction has also affected Cuneta and Gamboa, who have had to navigate a tumultuous relationship in the past decade. Their most recent known reconciliation was in 2012, with Sotto also affirming his love for his niece, referring to her as his and Gamboa’s “panganay” or eldest child.
In her statement on Tuesday, Cuneta said she prays, “after this game called politics is over, that wounds are healed, loved ones do not doubt your love for them, and I and my sisters, especially, the only family I have left besides my own, find our way back to one another’s arms, unscathed and free of the pain our battlescars have brought us.”
Actress-singer Ciara Sotto, the daughter of Sen. Sotto and Gamboa, earlier expressed hurt and disappointment with Pangilinan’s vice-presidential bid, saying the move made her “feel that my parents were of no value after all.”
Cuneta, in her statement, asked for prayers from to help her family members resolve their differences.
“It is most difficult for us in the periphery, who never imagined we would be in this position. May God bless us all. May God help me through this trying period… Please pray for all of us,” she said.