Tuesday, March 11, 2008

CLAUDINE BARRETTO Charged with Libel and Perjury by Former Assistant

Actress Claudine Barretto-Santiago was charged with libel and perjury before the Quezon City Prosecutor's Office yesterday morning, March 11.

The complainant is a former personal assistant of Claudine named Nancy Jiji Cruz, who is a resident of No. 52 Q. Valencia Street, Barangay Valencia, Quezon City. She claimed that the actress was lying in her complaint-affidavit for qualified theft, which Claudine filed against her last January.

Cruz added in her complaint-affidavit that Claudine knew that there were no stolen or missing items in her house at No. 18 Nova Scotia Street, Loyola Grand Villas, Quezon City, and that no witness to the alleged theft was positively declared.

It was on December 27 that Claudine reported the alleged theft at the Quezon City Police District Station 9. She claimed that her former personal assistant allegedly took P300,000 worth of jewelry and cash, including several checks and the birth certificate of her son, Rodrigo Santino.

The actress told the police that she learned about the incident on Christmas day, December 25, and suspected that it was Cruz who stole the items because she allegedly left the house without asking permission.

On December 30, Margaret Barretto-Santiago, Claudine's real name, filed a case against Cruz before the Quezon City Prosecutor's Office. She claimed that Cruz stole P27,000 in cash, three sacks of Folded & Hung apparel, including shirts; a boxful of Secosana bags and wallets, Randy Ortiz gowns, south sea pearl earrings, which allegedly cost P500,000, and insurance papers.

On the other hand, according to a report published in People's Journal today, March 12, Cruz denied these allegations and reasoned that it is highly improbable and physically impossible and for her to carry and bring out three sacks of clothes and shirts by herself, even with the assistance of her three-year-old kid.

Cruz further argued that she sought permission from Claudine to leave on the morning of December 26, bringing only paper bags containing Christmas gifts. Cruz also stressed that Claudine would not allow her to bring out her personal belongings, so she did not bring any bag. Furthermore, the former assistant said the security guards of the village inspected her things before she was allowed to leave.

In a separate complaint-affidavit, Cruz also charged Claudine with violation of the Social Security Act of 1997. She claimed that Claudine allegedly failed to report her employment and services for coverage with Social Security System (SSS) after she was hired as a personal assistant and domestic helper in March 2001.

The former assistant stressed that she did not enjoy the benefits of the social security law because Claudine failed to remit her contributions to the SSS.

As of press time, Claudine has yet to give her side of the story.

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