The blockbuster Barretto soap opera
No television soap opera has ever come up with a more titillating drama, a more scandalous story line, and a more stellar cast of characters than the real-life spectacle that the whole nation has witnessed in the past few days, courtesy of the warring Barretto women.
No less than our country’s President and the most powerful senator of the republic were part of the cast of characters involved in the peak scene, which played out during the wake of the Barretto patriarch. The President attempted to play peacemaker, but he instead triggered a hair-pulling, slapping, kicking and cursing incident among the Barretto women.
Four married men are accused of having sexual or amorous relations with four Barretto women. If accusations are true, gambling aficionado Charlie “Atong” Ang managed to have a succession of extramarital relations with three Barretto women — sisters Claudine and Gretchen, and their niece Nicole. He is a major cause of the ongoing war of the Barretto women allegedly because Nicole “stole” him from Claudine, and Gretchen “stole” him in turn from Nicole. Atong Ang is now trending in social media, with memes describing him as the epitome of handsomeness.
Old-wealth scion Antonio “Tonyboy” Cojuangco is also involved because of his very public extramarital relations with Gretchen Barretto, with whom he now has a 24-year-old daughter. Former Caloocan City mayor Enrico “Recom” Echiverri is also accused of having maintained an extramarital affair with Marjorie Barretto, and the romance produced a daughter who is now 7 years old. Even business tycoon Ramon Ang has been dragged into the fray, with rumors amorously linking him with actress Julia Barretto, Marjorie’s daughter.
Gretchen and Tonyboy have long flaunted their extramarital relationship. Marjorie has only recently confirmed her past romantic involvement with Echiverri. Nicole herself revealed that Atong Ang was her boyfriend, with Marjorie additionally divulging that the relationship went on for five years, starting when Nicole was not even 18 years old.
Gretchen has never been married. Marjorie was married to actor Dennis Padilla, but their marriage was annulled in 2009. Claudine appears to still have a subsisting marriage with actor Raymart Santiago. Nicole was presumably single when she was in a relationship with Atong Ang.
The Barretto women have taken turns, in television interviews and social media postings, attacking each other with crisscrossing accusations of immorality and wickedness. With all these details, there’s a basket of crimes that could be filed by different parties, if the family saga turns even more nasty.
There are the potential criminal charges of concubinage, adultery and seduction. Concubinage is committed by “(a)ny husband who shall keep a mistress in the conjugal dwelling, or, shall have sexual intercourse, under scandalous circumstances, with a woman who is not his wife or shall cohabit with her in any other place.” Adultery is committed by “any married woman who shall have sexual intercourse with a man not her husband and by the man who has carnal knowledge of her, knowing her to be married.” Seduction is committed by having sex with “a woman who is single… of good reputation, over twelve but under eighteen years of age, committed by means of deceit.”
There are also potential criminal charges of physical injuries for the hair-pulling and kicking incidents; of slander for the slapping and oral accusations of dishonor; and of libel for the media interviews and cyberpostings all the Barretto women made to maliciously discredit one another and the married men involved.
For their own sake, let’s hope the Barretto women will not expand their word wars into court battles, because there will only be three winners in this saga, and not one of them will be a Barretto. The winners will be the lawyers who will reap financial rewards, the television networks that will earn airtime bonanza, and a public perversely entertained by the drama of a family grotesquely engaged in self-destruction.
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