FIRST READ ON PEP: Gretchen Barretto in for photo "scandal" or "scam?"


Just last June, Gretchen Barretto figured in a "kisscandal" with John Estrada. This time, another batch of photos is circulating on the Internet, but the guy's identity is concealed. A "scandal" or a "scam?"


At 10:37 a.m. today, October 11, PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) received a forwarded email from an unindentified address. The title caught our attention because it read: "May bago na naman si Gretchen?!!!"

Checking the entire thread, the email has been circulating for about three days now because the date indicated at the bottom of it is October 8.

THE PHOTOS. The email has eight attachments with Gretchen Barretto as the main subject.

Photo 1: You see Gretchen in a top down roadster in broad daylight.

Photo 2: The guy comes into full view, he gives Gretchen what seems like a kiss. Notice that rear-view mirror, if you zoom in on the picture, will show that the guy is kissing La Greta's jawline.

Photo 3: It appears to be the aftermath of the "kiss." Gretchen has her eyes closed.

Photo 4: They step out of the car. They're in a parking lot.

Photo 5: They are seated outside a restaurant, which looks like Gourdo's in The Fort. There's a salad and two glasses of white wine.

Photo 6: The guy holds Gretchen's right hand and whispers something. Gretchen is smiling.

Photo 7: A close-up shot of their hands holding each other.

Photo 8: Gretchen is in the act of opening a box, which appears to be a gift.

And it will be interesting to note that in all eight photos, the guy's face is totally concealed. He is perhaps mestizo; but his eyes, his nose, his lips can't be seen from any of the shots' angles.

The pictures were taken paparazzi style. He was using a camera with zoom lens that can take an angle as far as 500 meters. The photographer was taking the shot from his vehicle, which was parked slightly across the convertible car of the guy and Gretchen. He could be a professional photographer.

THE FINDINGS. Some people in the thread easily jumped into a conclusion by saying, "La Greta is at it again." Obviously, they're referring to her "Kisscandal" with John Estrada which circulated last June.

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Many more are doubtful.

For one, the setting is too perfect. Notice the wine glasses, the gift, the rear-view mirror—they're all in right angles and positions.

Second, it's unthinkable that a lady who recently became the object of public ridicule due to "kisscandal" photos would go out with a guy in a top down car, in a very visible place, and in broad daylight.

Then there's this comment from people in the publishing trade and advertising industry that it's most likely an ad. The setting, the lighting, the dress, the blocking—they all look very orchestrated. And the guy's non-entity makes him look like a "prop."

It may be a publicity stunt or a build-up for the product. Even the way the photos were attached to the email was in perfect sequence.

It could be that a bystander saw the commotion in the parking lot, took pictures, followed them all the way to the restaurant, and leaked the photos on the Net.

The most malicious feedback insinuated that it may be a frame-up: the guy in the photo paid for the paparazzi.

Gretchen Barretto has not yet issued any statement. And while we're all waiting for it, we can all just speculate. But offhand, it feels like a rip-off. And it's tasteless.


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