Jay-Jay Barretto (left), brother of Claudine (bottom, right) and Gretchen (top, right), says, "Look, I'm close to Claudine. I'm close to Gretchen. But Claudine has got to stop, kawawa na si Gretchen!"

Photo: Facebook/joaquin.barretto/ Melo Balingit (Claudine) / Noel Orsal (Gretchen)

"We've been quiet," Jay-Jay says. "Wala sa amin ang problema. They—mom and dad—should solve the problem."

Before this, says Jay-Jay, things had become better on the homefront. "We were at a party recently, around last month, and Gretchen kissed my parents. Okay naman."

Gretchen and her parents had a falling out many years back. One of the big issues between them at the time was the "missing earnings" of Gretchen, which apparently included two lots in the upscale enclave of Acropolis.

One side said that the money was all accounted for, and that Gretchen could always check the family accounts. 

The other side said that the two lots had been placed in the elder Barrettos' names because, although Gretchen had earned the money that paid for these, she was still a minor at the time. Since then, those lots were ostensibly sold, and the Barretto family, being in dire straights, moved back to Iloilo. In the late '80s, the family returned to MetroManila, when the Barretto patriarch developed heart problems.

Jay-Jay recalls that, this time out, his parents "asked" Gretchen to get a car for her father's use, and to shoulder the P50,000 monthly fee on a home. "That was a lot of money then," says Jay-Jay.

"Maybe that's why Gretchen always felt bad about my mom. She never heard my parents thank her, she didn't feel it. In fairness to Gretchen, hindi siya nagsumbat."

CLAUDINE & JULIA. Still, the Barretto family coasted along. They had not come to a real closeness but, in the midst of their differences, had managed some civility.

But it was a civility shattered by Inday's letter to Gretchen—a letter whose beginnings, Jay-Jay feels, may be traced to Claudine's issue with her former management team, Star Magic, as well as her former network, ABS-CBN.

Among the Barretto siblings, it is generally known that Claudine has issues with ABS-CBN, the network that was her homebase for 17 years and the company that she has been heard to say she is returning to.

When Julia Barretto, the stunning 17-year-old daughter of estranged couple Marjorie Barretto and Dennis Padilla, entered the showbiz scene, the Barretto family had to contend with Claudine's "very vocal" objections. She reportedly felt strongly that ABS-CBN was taking in Julia only "to get back" at her and to "ruin" her.

And when Julia finally entered Star Magic in a big way last year, Claudine's rift with Gretchen worsened. Claudine blamed Gretchen for pushing Julia's entry into the Kapamilya circle. Jay-Jay says that this is, in fact, the true story.  

When he says, "If there is anyone who cared more for her niece, we all know it is Gretchen, as she has proven when she chose to protect me and my siblings for a long, long time," he also directly refutes his mother's April 24 letter accusing Gretchen of "evil manipulation" in the Claudine-Julia scenario.

How is he so sure that Claudine does not want Julia in ABS-CBN?