|Claudine Barretto and Raymart Santiago|
There had been stories circulating that Barretto have had extra-marital affair with a friend of her husband's, Martin Castro. This was, of course, one of the old controversial topics that sprung from actress Angelica Panganiban. Barretto denied this and accused the actress of maliciously spreading lies about her.
Barretto was also romantically linked with businessman Atong Ang, whom she said she only knew through one of her sisters-in-law. She added that Ang, being Castro's godfather, volunteered to help them solve her marital misunderstanding.
And the recent rumor to come out is that she had a romantic relationship with Senator Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada. Barretto, however, swore she wasn't close to the actor-politician and just happened to attend a party he hosted with some of her friends.
Senate President Pro-Tempore Jinggoy Estrada also speaks out his side, a few days after rumors sprouted.
"Sa'n lumabas ang balita? Ayoko na patulan 'yan, tsismis lang 'yan!"Translated as: "Where did that news came from? I don't want to entertain that, it's only a rumor!"
Senator Estrada said all these are purely gossips and definitely untrue, thus he does not want to get affected by such baseless contentions.
Prior to this, it was also said that Jinggoy and Claudine met in America, when they concurrently took a vacation last April.
These would have been all rumors, but it was reported that on October 25, Claudine was seen losing her composure in a bank after being told that the money she was about to withdraw had been moved by another party.
In a joint statement, the show biz couple said: "We are still together. We have not separated. We love each other and we both value and cherish our marriage and relationship. Any issues that we may have are private and do not detract from, nor diminish, the strength of our marriage."
The statement avoided any mention of the bank incident. But according to a TV report, Barretto went to a bank on Quezon Avenue, Quezon City at noon with her lawyer Agnes Maranan to withdraw an undisclosed amount of money. Over half an hour later, they discovered that the money was no longer available and was taken through an inter-branch withdrawal.
It wasn't clear why Claudine Barretto was accompanied by a lawyer, although an entertainment columnist, quoting unidentified sources, had said that the actress sensed something wrong upon getting home from a TV taping session, and after finding her husband and all of his vehicles gone. She immediately contacted her lawyer and rushed to the bank to withdraw P5 million.
The presence of a TV news crew led by "24 Oras" show biz reporter Nelson Cantas also raised speculations. It was asked what he was doing there at the same time Barretto was breaking down, Cantas told the media that it was Barretto herself who called him up and told him to proceed to the bank, which is near the GMA 7 studios.
The TV camera captured Barretto in a foul mood inside the bank. When she came out, she tearfully told the news crew to ask her lawyer about what happened.
Maranan questioned the timing of the money's withdrawal by another party – presumably Santiago. "It was withdrawn at the time we were asking to withdraw it." the lawyer said. "We were here for more than 30 minutes. I was able to confirm from the teller that the funds were still there; and then suddenly, about 30 minutes later, wala na yung funds (the funds were gone)."
The money was supposed to come from Barretto and Santiago's joint bank account, from which either spouse could withdraw separately.
On October 27, Barretto told GMA News TV's "Showbiz Exclusives" that she was able to speak with the bank's branch manager, whom she accused of hiding the money from her. "Yung pera ko nawala. Hindi binigay (My money was gone, it wasn't given)... In a span of five minutes na nandun, biglang nawala, (that it was there, it suddenly disappeared)," Barretto said. "Hinanap ko siya (I look for him - the branch manager), biglang nagtago sa CR (he suddenly hid in the comfort room)."
Maranan, on the same TV program, said there had been a bank transaction at 12:45 p.m. "This moved the fund, but I was not told kung saan na-move (if where it was moved)." It's still unclear whether Barretto would be able to get the money back.
The couple's joint statement according to Inquirer said: "In recent days, there have been numerous negative rumors about our marriage and our relationship, all of which have caused us, our children, and our families undue stress, strain, and unnecessary tension. We ask that the public allow us to deal with our minor concerns without the glare and glee of media speculation that only hurt us and those we love."
The couple added: "We are deeply committed to our two children (Sabina, 7, Santino, 4), whom we love unconditionally. As concerned and devoted parents, we shall zealously protect their privacy, and their right to be untouched by malice and gossip."
The Santiagos then pleaded with the public to respect the rights of their children, who are innocent... unjustly harmed by the baseless gossip. They added that they hope the joint statement would settle and lay to rest all questions about the couple.