"Kung naging stiff man kami ni Heart [Evangelista], siguro mas kailangang mas prim and proper lang kami. Dito [GMA-7], iba—you cannot compare talaga. Mas open na ako ngayon kumpara sa dati. Because nagagawa ko yung gusto ko and at the same time, yung tinuro nilang professionalism, nagagamit ko dito. And I can be myself. At the end of the day, I can be myself," says Claudine Barretto about her new home network. 

Photo: Noel Orsal

Claudine Barretto has been a talent of GMA-7 since she transferred from ABS-CBN in November 2009. Since then, she has been starring in her own drama anthology show titled Claudine and has been co-hosting Showbiz Central for a limited engagement. She is also currently promoting the movie In Your Eyes, which is co-produced by GMA Films and Viva Films.

In this movie, Claudine portrays Ciara, a physical therapist who is an American citizen. She enters into an arranged marriage with Storm (Richard Gutierrez), so he can stay legally in the United States. However, she falls in love with Storm, who happens to be the boyfriend of her younger sister Julia (Anne).

This Mac Alejandre film will have its premiere on August 15 and will open in cinemas nationwide by August 18. 

During her solo press conference for In Your Eyes yesterday, August 4, at the GMA Network in Quezon City, Claudine exuded a relaxed vibe that did not go unnoticed among members of the press.

Columnist Dinno Erece asked Claudine to explain why ABS-CBN leading ladies like herself and Heart Evangelista (who transferred to GMA-7 in April 2008) became more open to the press when they transferred to GMA-7.

"Hindi naman siguro bawal," begins Claudine. "Of course, nagkaproblema kami ng ABS-CBN...ganun ang pamilya, e. Marami kaming napagdaanan...17 years, di ba? Imposible naman na perfect lahat 'yon. Even with friends, nagkakaroon tayo ng problema.

"Iba kasi ang culture dito [GMA-7], iba rin ang culture doon. Mas disciplinarian sila [ABS-CBN]. Hindi ko naiintindihan yung mga sinasabi ng mga tao na 'Ay, unprofessional 'yan.' Kasi, hindi ganun ang pagpapalaki sa amin. Dinidisiplina kami. Kahit gaano ka kasikat, dapat gawin mo ang trabaho mo. I think that's the best naman talaga, the best way of molding an artist."

She then points out, "Kung naging stiff man kami ni Heart, siguro mas kailangang mas prim and proper lang kami. Dito [GMA-7], iba, you cannot compare talaga. Mas open na ako ngayon kumpara sa dati. Because nagagawa ko yung gusto ko and at the same time, yung itinuro nilang [ABS-CBN] professionalism, nagagamit ko dito. And I can be myself. At the end of the day, I can be myself."

(CLICK HERE to watch Claudine explain the differences between the two TV stations.)

RAYMART'S REACTION TO MARK ANTHONY'S INTERVIEW. Last Sunday, August 1, Claudine interviewed ex-boyfriend Mark Anthony Fernandez on Showbiz Central. The two covered a lot of topics, particularly their relationship when they were 16 years old. (CLICK HERE to read related article.)

Claudine said that prior to the interview, she asked her husband Raymart Santiago if he would be comfortable if she did this particular interview.

"Kung ako ang nalagay sa position ni Raymart, to be very honest, it would be very, very, very difficult for me. And tinanong ko siya, at tinanong rin siya ng mga bosses ng GMA-7, and pumayag siya. For that, very thankful ako. Tinanong ko siya, 'Are you sure it's okay, babe?' Kasi sabi ko, if it's not, if it's going to be a problem, it's not worth it.

"Ang sagot ni Raymart, 'We took a vow. We made a vow to God. You know what the Bible says about cheating, about lying, about adultery. Ano ba goal mo? Di ba, ang goal mo pasayahin ang mga fans n'yo ni Mark? And if that makes them happy, that will make you happy and that will make me happy. Pag ikaw nagloko or si Mark, mas marami yung mawawala sa 'yo. You're not only going to lose your career, you're going to lose your children and the Santiago family,' na talagang kapamilya ko na.'" 

Claudine feels lucky to have a husband as understanding as Raymart, with whom she has two children: their adopted daughter Sabina and their son Santino.

"Sobrang nata-touch ako sa asawa ko," says the 31-year-old actress. "Of course, it was hard for him pero hindi niya pinaparamdam yun, e. Before I left, we prayed and right after the interview, he told me, 'Congratulations. You did a great job. I'm happy that you guys are okay.'"