MANILA — (UPDATED) Marjorie Barretto finally broke her silence Tuesday on the latest controversy to beset her family, which erupted last week during the wake of her father, Miguel Barretto.
Speaking with ABS-CBN News’ Karen Davila, Marjorie answered, one by one, the accusations hurled at her by sister Gretchen, in relation to the reported scuffle during the wake at The Heritage Park in Taguig.
In narrating the events of October 16, Marjorie sought to contextualize first the ties of Gretchen with their niece Nicole, as well as businessman Atong Ang.
Ang, Marjorie alleged, was the boyfriend of Nicole for five years — until Gretchen supposedly “stole” him from their niece. These claims were already denied by Ang in an earlier statement, saying Gretchen and her long-time partner Tonyboy Cojuangco are business partners, and Nicole was formerly employed by him.
According to Marjorie, prior to Gretchen’s arrival at the wake, Nicole and her mother received separate messages from Ang’s family members.
“[They] said, kung puwede umalis muna sila Nicole at ‘yung mga kapatid niya, dahil parating si Gretchen at si Atong. Bigla na lang lumuha [si Nicole]. Apo siya, e. She had more right in the wake," Marjorie said.
“Tapos siyempre napapahiya siya sa aming lahat, kasi very present si Atong sa lahat ng family gatherings namin in that almost five years, as the boyfriend of Nicole. Napapahiya rin naman si Nicole na papasok silang (Gretchen and Ang) magkasama. Parang sampal na sa pagmumukha niya ‘yon. It was not the place to do that.”
Further, Marjorie claimed Nicole was advised by Ang’s camp to leave “dahil magkakaroon ng gulo.”
President Rodrigo Duterte arrived at the wake prior to Gretchen and Ang, Marjorie recalled. “Dumating ang Pangulo, he had his moments with my mom and prayer for my father,” she said.
Referring to their youngest sister, Marjorie narrated: “On cue ni Claudine, dumating si Gretchen at si Atong. Atong stayed at the end [of the chapel]. Gretchen was there, apologizing to my mother, crying. We were at the side.”
Those details align with earlier videos posted by Claudine and Gretchen on Instagram, where the latter’s arrival can be seen. Gretchen described Marjorie as “fuming” in those clips.
Marjorie did admit being irate at the time, but not for the reason Gretchen claimed — that she was simply against her older sister being at their father’s wake.
“They were claiming na mainit na ulo ko. Hindi lang po ako. ‘Yung pamilya ko po, dahil na-offend kami really about Atong sending our nieces and nephews out of the wake of our father. That’s the tension,” she said.
Marjorie went on to confirm that the President did attempt to mediate between her and Gretchen, as initially reported by eyewitnesses at the wake. She also confirmed Gretchen’s earlier statement that she, Marjorie, did not agree to reconcile with her sister, even at the President’s insistence.
“Sabi ko, ‘Mr. President, I respect you, I love you, I voted for you, sir. Pasensya na po. Hindi po kita mapagbibigyan,’” Marjorie recounted.
“I could see her face. I could see the insincerity in Gretchen. I know her the most,” she added, when asked why she refused to shake hands with her sister.
It was at that point, she said, when Claudine supposedly made a scene. Claudine, who had been estranged for a time with Gretchen, has formed a close relationship anew with her “Ate” following their reconciliation early this year.
“Claudine says, ‘You’re unbelievable!’” Marjorie recounted. “Tumingin ako — bunsong kapatid. Diyan nag-start ‘yung bastusan, actually. And then she followed with, ‘How dare you! You just want the attention!’
“I said, ‘Mr. President, tingnan niyo po ‘to. Ito po ‘yung totoong pagkatao nila. Nagbabait-baitan lang po sila sa harapan ninyo. I hope you understand.’”
Marjorie alleged that Ang then attempted to grab her, after she questioned his presence at the wake in front of President Duterte.
“‘Bakit ba siya nandito?’ Nagalit! Sa aakma si Atong… That’s when the PSG cordoned… Because the President was holding me. Pag safe si Presidente, safe ako,” she said, referring to the Presidential Security Group.
Around the same time, Gretchen was supposedly poised to grab her, too, according to Marjorie. That was the point when Nicole got involved in the scuffle, she said.
“Nakita ko sa kanan ko, Nicole carried Gretchen, nilipat siya, nilayo sa akin. Because, according to Nicole at mga tao doon, she (Gretchen) was also going to follow to make me hablot. Iyon ang kaguluhan nila doon,” Marjorie said.
The PSG advised the President to leave due to the commotion, but he insisted to speak first with Marjorie, the former actress narrated.
“He safely took me away to the farthest couch, habang si Gretchen ang nag-nervous breakdown. She ran after Nicole, pulled Nicole’s hair, kicked Nicole. She beat up my niece,” she alleged.
Contradicing Gretchen’s earlier claim, Marjorie added: “I wasn’t the one with nervous breakdown. I was sitting quietly with the President on the left side of the chapel, exchanging pleasantries… We ended well, habang si Gretchen nakikipagbugbugan doon. Para klaro sa lahat. Siya ang gumawa ng gulo. Hindi ako. I respect my father.”
Sought for comment on Marjorie’s narration of the October 16 incident, Gretchen sent this statement to ABS-CBN News’ Mario Dumaual: “I have replied point by point to all her allegations. Mr. Atong Ang says he will reply to Marjorie.”
‘KAILAN KA BA MAPAPAGOD?’
Marjorie also addressed Gretchen’s accusation that she is to blame for the heart attack of their father which supposedly led to his passing.
Gretchen had said Marjorie excluded their mother, Inday Barretto, from a recent party celebrating Mr. Barretto’s 82nd birthday, causing the patriarch to fall ill.
“It goes to show that Gretchen does not care about the family at all. My father died of acute respiratory failure. He did not have a heart attack,” Marjorie began.
She recalled that Mr. Barretto suddenly had “violent chills” during the party — two weeks before he died on October 15. Mr. Barretto also had showed signs of sepsis, severe pneumonia, and high fever, among others, resulting in his 16-day hospitalization.
“Gretchen, stop diverting. My mom is always invited. Why wouldn’t she be invited? She is my mother, and she is the wife of my father, and we are in good terms. If I did not want my mother at the birthday celebration of my father, I wouldn’t have done it in my house.
“My dad claimed to us that my mom was ill that day, that’s why she was not able to join us, which is not unusual. My mom is 82 years old,” Marjorie said.
Marjorie then brought up the long estrangement of Gretchen from their parents, contrasting that situation with her own efforts to spend time with their family.
“Now when we talk about her painting me as a bad daughter, I will put my foot down. I am a good daughter. I am present every Sunday, every family event, I throw their parties, I serve them, I visit my family.
“Speaking of not inviting your mother to your house — Gretchen, for more than 25 years, has never invited my parents to her house, any of her mansions and rest houses, not even to their garage. So don’t paint me as the bad daughter, Gretchen,” she said.
Asked whether she is growing tired of her five-year rift with Gretchen, Marjorie said: “What Gretchen is doing to me is not only to me. She does this to all her friends, all my friends, family, parents, everything. This evilness has to stop.
“Ako, gusto ko ibalik ‘yung tanong kay Gretchen: Kailan ka ba mapapagod? When will you start healing so you can stop hurting everybody? I pray for healing. I sincerely pray for healing.”
Marjorie pointed out that throughout the two weeks their father Miguel was under intensive care, Gretchen did not once visit him — which would have been an indication that she was sincere in mending ties with her family.
“Kung pumunta siya sa ospital, sa tatay ko, habang buhay, walang Presidente, walang kamera, walang lahat, ako ang unang yayakap sa kaniya. I would have hugged her. I would have led her to my father, and I swear that on my children’s lives.
“I am for reconciliation, just not an orchestrated one,” Marjorie said.