Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Raymart dares Claudine: Take NBI drug test

MANILA -- Raymart Santiago has taken up a dare to undergo a drug test but on the condition that his estranged wife Claudine Barretto will agree to a random blood test under the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). The 40-year-old actor, in a statement given to ABS-CBN News on Wednesday, addressed Barretto's latest accusations in relation to their controversial legal spat involving allegations of domestic violence and drug abuse. Santiago's legal counsel, Atty. Ruth Castello, said her client is "willing to take the challenge of drug-testing anytime of day and night [because] he has nothing to hide." In a press conference held Tuesday, Barretto denied her husband's allegations of drug abuse, which he chronicled in photos and videos in his counter-affidavit filed before the Marikina Regional Trial Court last September 24. Accompanied by her father, Miguel, Barretto showed the results of six drug tests she said she had undergone in recent weeks, with the latest being last Sunday, September 30. She went on to challenge Santiago to undergo the same tests. This latest exchange of accusations is in relation to cases the 34-year-old actress had lodged against her husband. Barretto is seeking to make permanent a temporary protection order (TPO) against Santiago, which stems from the alleged "physical, sexual, psychological and economic" abuse she had suffered from her husband. The "Mula sa Puso" actress detailed these abuses, which she said dates back to 2002, in a case filed late August against Santiago for his alleged violation of the Anti-Violence against Women and Their Children (VAWC) Act of 2004. Santiago and Barretto were married in a Church wedding in March 2006. They have two children -- an adopted daughter, Sabina, 9; and a biological son, Santino, 6. On Wednesday, Barretto said Santiago has been wanting to end their marriage so he would have full control of her money, noting they never had a pre-nuptial agreement. Addressing this, Castello said in the statement released Wednesday: "Money is not the cause of Raymart and Claudine's marital break-up. It is the lack of peace and harmony between them and in their household that it was no longer healthy." Claudine's 'trauma' Santiago's camp also responded to Barretto's recollection of an alleged incident in 2010, which she said traumatized her. The actress, during the press conference on Tuesday, hit her husband's supposed absence during the "terrible" episode. "Meron silang ginawa noong 2010 that really traumatized me, and walang ginawa si Raymart para protekhan kami ng mga anak ko. Instead ginamit niya pa 'yun para takutin kami... 'Yung nangyari sa 'kin was terrible, horror talaga. I would not wish it to happen to anybody," she said. Acknowledging the supposed incident, Santiago said on Wednesday, "Wala ako doon. Si Gretchen at Marjorie (Barretto's estranged sisters) ang tumakbo sa bahay para tulungan si Claudine dahil nasa taping ako. Kinwento na lang nila sa akin ang nangyari." Both Barretto and Santiago have yet to divulge the details of the alleged incident. The actor also denied Barretto's accusations that he had used illegal means to record the photos and videos he included in his counter-affidavit. "Sana tumigil na sila nang kakakalabas nang hindi totoo," Santiago added. "Marami pa akong matinding ebidensya na pwedeng ilabas ngayon, pero hayaan na lang natin si judge ang makakita nito. Huwag na sa public." "Napilitan ako maglabas ng ebidensya sa media para ipangtanggol ang pangalan ko. Masyado niya akong sinisira kaya nagsabi lang ako ng totoo. Ngayon alam na nila kahit papano, pwede na ako tumahimik," he said. -- with a report from Ginger Conejero, ABS-CBN News

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