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MANILA - Estranged couple Raymart Santiago and Claudine Barretto faced each other in court on Friday in relation to the battle for custody of their children.
The hearing at the Marikina Regional Trial Court was part of a judicial dispute resolution ordered by Judge Geraldine Macaraig, requiring the feuding camps to discuss a possible arrangement concerning 6-year-old Santino and 10-year-old Sabina.
Barretto was accompanied by her father, Miguel, while Santiago arrived at the court with his brother, Rowell.
Citing a gag order, Santiago and Barretto declined to comment on what transpired during the hearing.
A court insider told ABS-CBN News that the former couple, who were married in civil rites in 2004, also discussed their financial responsibilities to their children, aside from custody.
Barretto has accused Santiago of "physical, sexual, psychological and economic" abuse, supposedly dating back to 2002. These are detailed in her legal complaint against the actor for his alleged violation of of the Anti-Violence against Women and Their Children Act of 2004.
Santiago also alleged that he is a victim of domestic violence. In his complaint, the actor accused his wife of being mentally ill and having a history of drug abuse -- claims backed by the actress' estranged siblings Gretchen, Marjorie, and JJ.
Both Barretto and Santiago have repeatedly mentioned the welfare of their children in explaining why they took the spat to court, and why they are seeking sole custody of the kids. -- Report by Mario Dumaual, ABS-CBN News