"Forgiving is very easy, e, but admitting to the truth is adifferent thing," was Nadia Montenegro's retort to Gretchen Barretto's most recent statement.
In the article published by PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) yesterday ,October 4, La Greta said, pertaining to her rift with Nadia, "In my heart, Ihave chosen to forgive her. Kung anuman ang nangyari, I will learn from theexperience."
The two women had been close friends since they were kids. "Wewere discovered sabay sa mga commercials namin," Nadia recalled. But that fateful night—February 20, to be exact—at Hotel Rembrandt in Quezon City, changedevery thing, and damaged the friendship they nurtured for 27 years.
Accusations and nasty words were hurled at each other. Glasses even cameflying, according to witnesses. And Nadia could only shake her head dismallyevery time she looks back to what happened at Rembrandt. She said,in a voice devoid of emotion: "It's the biggest disappointment."
Their common friends have been trying to patch things up between the twowomen. The last attempt was during the wake of Gabby Concepcion's dad more than two weeks ago. But allefforts were futile.
Nadia narrated, "Nung nasa wake kami, pinagbabati kami. Iwas crying. I was praying and praying...parang give me the...parang i-ano ako niLord na kaya kong lumapit. Pero I never took a glance at her, not a singleglance for like an hour and a half. So I knew na parang hindi ko pa kaya.
"Ngayon, hindi naman ako yung nagmamalaki na parang ako payung galit. But it just showed that I'm still hurting from what had happened,kasi nung pinipilit na kaming magbati, alam kong ready siya, e. Ready siya, e.
"[Brief pause] Hindi ko kaya talaga. Hindi ko kayanglumingon at tumingin sa kanya, not because I'm ano...but because nagpa-flashbackyung...yung nasa radyo sila ni Cristy [Fermin] na kung anu-ano ang pinagsasabinila sa akin, na hindi ko akalaing kaya nilang gawin sa akin."
CRISTY FERMIN. Shementioned the name of Cristy Fermin, whom Nadia used to call her "nanay-nanayan."
"She's always been my nanay," she related. "Inaanak ko yunganak niya, inaanak ni Tanya yung panganay niya, to the point na talagang,‘Nanay, ‘nay, ganito-ganyan.' Walang problema...until that rift with Gretchen."
At the height of the Rembrandt confrontation issue, Cristy'sname figured greatly. The tittle-tattle in certain showbiz circles claimed thatwhen the Barretto sisters asked the host-columnist about the source of herwrite-ups on Gretchen's affair with Dody Puno, Cristy dropped the name ofNadia.
The former actress confirmed this: "Una, tinitira niya siGretchen, di ba? So, I think her [Gretchen's] sister asked si Cristy, ‘Bakit motinitira si Gretchen? Sinong nagsabi sa iyo na me relasyon siya ke ganito, keganyan...' Ang unang-unang binitawan ni Cristy, sabi niya: ‘Si Nadia.'"
Since then, Nadia noticed that she had become an on-and-offsubject of Cristy in her tabloid columns and radio show. "They're saying nanasiraan na ako ng bait, okay lang," trying to remember the "smear campaign" thatwas instigated against her. "Tira sa radio. 'Baboy'. 'Drug addict'. 'Sira-ulo'. Osige, tahimik ako..."
But the most unjust rumor had to do with her kids."Iba-iba raw ang tatay ng anak ko," she began. "Show me proof. Ihave Boy [Asistio] with me. I have my kids behind me. They're all with me. Isa lang tatayng anak ko. Twenty years na kami sa October 19. I mean, how stupid can you getand try to tell the world that it's not like that. It's like black, and you'retelling me it's white?"
At the time of this interview yesterday ina coffee shop, Nadia repeatedly asked: "What can they say against me?"
Apparently, she had been warned about Cristy's rejoinder toher explosive interview on The Buzz lastSeptember 27, where Nadia dubbed her former nanay-nanayan, "walang budhi."
The answer to her gnawingthought was dropped this afternoon, October 5. Cristy revealed on The Buzz:
"Nadia,mahigit dalawang taon na ang nakararaan, nagdalang-tao ka na hindi alam ngkarelasyon mo, hindi alam ng pamilya mo. Nagpunta ka sa isang ospital namatatagpuan sa pagitan ng Mandaluyong at Pasig. Pumasok ka ng alas-dose nghatinggabi, inoperahan ka kinaumagahan, nagsilang ka ng sanggol na babae, nagtagoka sa pangalang Nadine Villegas. Nadia, umuwi ka ng bahay, hindi mo dinala angsanggol, pinaalagaan mo sa isang kaibigan mong aktres na kilala natin pareho,kilala ng publiko ng ilang buwan. Pagkatapos ng ilang buwan, pinadala mo ang batasa inyong tahanan ipinakilala mo sa karelasyon mo at sa iyong mga anak bilangampon mo."
The statement of Cristy did not come as a surprise to Nadia, who had prepared herself forthe worst.
"Unbelievable!" she exclaimed. "Why am I still with Boy? I wanted to answer that. Twenty years, we'reintact. He's with me every day of my life..."
With frustrationwritten all over her face, "Ano ba ang galit niya sa akin?"
After the issue with Gretchen,Nadia found herself at odds again with Cristy, who now plays "ally" to RoseFlaminiano, who had called Nadia Gabby's "sulsoltant" and "badviser."
ROSE FLAMINIANO. LastSeptember 10, the public attention was on Gabby Concepcion and Rose Flaminiano. Gabby sent a letter to his manager asking for his contract to beterminated, effective immediately.
A few days later, Rose filed a 22-millionpeso lawsuit against her ward.
A week later, the focus was diverted to Rose and Nadia.
To this day, Nadia finds it hard to believe that she gotherself entangled in the jumble.
She was never close to Rose, but she hadalways been cordial during those few times she came across Gabby'smanager. "I've always shown her respect. I never bypassed her oranything," said Nadia.
She added: "Hindi kaya si Rose may sulsoltant parapag-initan niya ako?"
The name-calling has not stopped, but Nadia just laughs things off now. "Meron pa siyang porky-porky, e, ako, papayat paako, e. Siya hindi na. Sa mukha niyo't ugali niyo?" she said. "Ayusinniyo yung problema. The more they say those things, fine with me. It just showswhat kind of [character] they have. "
And Nadia knows that things are not bound to stop anytime soon. She told PEP, "You won't imagine how many reportershave approached me, have texted me na: ‘Day, naglalabas ng pera para tirahinka.'"
This year is undoubtedly the most controversial for Nadia. She lost a friend. She gained an enemy for being a good friend. She became the recipient of bad press due to her being "Ms. Friendly." But she doesn't let the entire hubbub affect her way of thinking when it comes to friendships.
She said: "I know for a fact na even if I'm not askedto do anything for my friends, they know that behind their back, I can fight for them even without them knowing. Maybe, sometimes, it's a disadvantage onmy part. Sometimes, Boy has to remind me. It's always ano...dami nga ng friendsko. You know, house is 24/7 open.
"Inaayos mo pa lang ang problema nito, maygumaganun na dito. Si ganito gumaganun na dito, kailangan kong ayusin siganito."
That's how she is, a "mother goose" to most showbiz denizens, and that's how she will always be.
And this article is just the tip of the iceberg.
"In Focus," the latest section under VIEWS, will have a three-part story about the woman of the hour. What's Nadia's version of the Rembrandt confrontation? Did she send anti-Rose text messages? What prompted her to face the issues on national television? Don't miss her explosive answers!