Claudine Barretto in tears on witness stand
MANILA -- Claudine Barretto turned emotional on Wednesday during a closed-door hearing for a protection order she had filed against husband Raymart Santiago, as family members rallied behind the actress in the latest controversy to beset her this year.
A "drained" Barretto emerged from the Marikina Justice Hall, accompanied by her mother Inday and sister Michi, shortly after the second hearing for her petition to make permanent a temporary protection order (TPO) granted to her last week against Santiago.
Speaking with ABS-CBN News, the 34-year-old actress said she found the cross-examination "very draining." She added nonetheless that she is "okay, fighting, hoping."
Barretto, as well as her legal counsel, Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, cited a gag order in refusing to comment on the court proceedings, and whether the permanent protection order has already been granted.
The initial petition for the TPO stems from Santiago's alleged "physical, verbal, psychological, and even economical" abuse towards Barretto, which the actor has repeatedly denied.
Asked why Barretto turned emotional as she took to the witness stand on Wednesday, Topacio only said, "Nare-recall niya 'yung mga nangyari sa buhay niya eh, kaya gano'n. Hindi naman ako makapagsalita."
The visibly distraught actress offered a smile when asked about her mother's presence during the hearing.
"Syempre nagpapasalamat ako. Ayoko na sana siya madamay at pumunta dito because of her age and all, but I'm thankful, I'm really thankful sa suporta niya," she said.
Inday, who has been vocal of her support for her youngest daughter, lauded Barretto's courage in taking to court her alleged case of abuse.
"We're okay, we're happy, we're fighting. Salamat sa lahat to everyone who is her for us. She (Barretto) is [alright], she's brave. It's (case) all in God's hands," Inday told ABS-CBN News.
Barretto likewise thanked her fans, whom she refers to as "Claudinians," for expressing their continued support amid her legal battle.
"Maraming, maraming salamat sa lahat ng Claudinians, sa lahat ng suporta, sa lahat ng nagdadasal para sa akin at sa mga anak ko. Maraming salamat sa lahat ng pagtitiwala," she told reporters as she exited the Marikina Justice Hall.
Sought for his comment on Wednesday's legal proceedings, the 40-year-old Santiago also brought up the gag order issued on both camps.
The actor was previously prohibited from seeing his two children with Barretto, following the initial granting of the actress request for a TPO.
On August 8, Santiago reunited with both his kids after the Marikina Regional Trial Court (RTC) granted his petition for a writ of habeas corpus in relation to a custody case he had filed against Barretto.
Barretto has said she will also file charges against her former partner for his alleged violation of the Anti-Violence against Women and Their Children (VAWC) Act of 2004.