After getting dragged into the Barretto family feud, businessman Atong Ang clarified his relations with Gretchen, Nicole, and Claudine on Dobol A sa Dobol B Monday morning.
Short of the long: Over the weekend, Gretchen addressed allegations that she 'stole' Atong Ang from niece Nicole.
In her rebuttal, Gretchen said it was Nicole who stole Atong from Claudine.
On Monday, Atong clarified that Nicole and her mother Marichi used to work for him, and that he once helped Claudine with her issues with Martin Castro. Meanwhile, Gretchen and her partner Tonyboy Cojuangco are business partners in his sabong and casino businesses.
When asked if he was denying the alleged relationships he's had with the three Barrettos he said, "Masasabi mo lang na girlfriend kapag nakapatong ka na diyan."
"Eh bakit ko naman aaminin na ganon, eh wala namang ganon. May nakakita ba? Eh wala naman ganon 'di 'ba?" he added.
He said he denies the accusations. In fact, he is happy with his wife and his family.
"Well, ayoko magsalita sa ganyan. Totally dine-deny ko lang talaga 'yan, kasi bakit ka magsasalita ng kung ano-ano? Basta ang sa akin, happy ako sa pamilya ko, sa asawa ko," he said.
Atong said if the alleged affairs were real, he wouldn't bring the Barrettos and his family together.
"Maliwanag naman na isinasama ko sila sa pamilya ko. Ibig sabihin makikita niyo doon na walang kalokohan," he said.
"Kung ipagpapalit mo sa iba, dapat hindi ko sila ipinagsasama-sama nang ganyan 'di ba? Unang una hindi naman kami nagsasama sa mga bahay-bahay. Wala naman kaming mga bahay. May kanya-kanya kaming buhay," he added.
On his relationship with Nicole
The 61-year-old businessman recalled that about eight to nine years ago, Nicole's mother Marichi helped him with his business, as he was starting out again after getting out of prison.
"Ang istorya naman diyan, siguro mga eight years ago or mga nine years ago si Marichi na mommy ni Nicole tumutulong sa negosyo ko 'yan, noong nag-i-istart pa lang ako. 'Di ba lumabas ako ng kulungan? Tumutulong sila sa 'kin sa negosyo ko dati," he explained.
And during this time, Nicole was still in school. He only encountered Nicole when she graduated from school.
"Tapos nung grumaduate naman si Nicole, tumulong naman sa 'kin si Nicole — 'yong sa mga booking ko lalo na kapag may mga flight ako. Nakakasama ko na si Nicole noong naka-graduate na," he continued.
Atong said Nicole and her mother held close relations with him and his family — dining and bonding together like a real family — for about four years.
"Naging close sa mga anak ko, nagpupunta sa bahay ko, kami-kami nila Marichi, magkakasama kami dun sa restaurant nila Art Atayde before, so naging close kami as family rin," he narrated. "So nangyari 'yon, mga four years kaming magkakasama noon."
Atong added that he treated Nicole like his own daughter. "Talagang very close ako kay Nicole talaga naging parang anak ko na rin talaga 'yan."
But they had a misunderstanding, and four years ago was the last time they all saw each other.
"Nagkaro'n ng misunderstanding noon. At tsaka may asawa na siya at tsaka anak ngayon. Dapat hindi na siya nagsasalita nang ganyan," he said. "Nanahimik na 'di 'ba hindi ko alam ano pinanggalingan niyang gulo na yan nagtataka na nga ako."
On his relationship with Claudine
Atong clarified that he only met Claudine through Marichi, when he helped her address issues with a certain Martin Castro.
"Si Claudine dinala sa 'kin ni Marichi dahil meron silang away ni Martin Castro before. 'Yung wife niya nagkakagulo magdedemandahan. Nagkataon si Martin kasi, anak ng kumpare ko si pareng Ronnie Castro, 'yong Mayor," Atong explained.
He said he only met Claudine when Marichi brought her to him while they were inside a casino to help her fix her problems with Martin.
"Dinala sa 'kin si Claudine. Ilang araw ko rin inayos 'yon. So ibig sabihin 'yong tungkol kay Claudine, nakikita kami ng mga tao. Nag-iinterpret lang sila or nag-conclude sila na may relasyon kami," he said.
He said he never encountered Claudine again after that.
"Never. Nakakasama ko lang siya noon nung tinulungan ko sila nila Martin lang. 'Yon lang that was six years ago. Nachismis ako pinagdidikit-dikit nila ngayon," he said.
On his relationship with Gretchen
Meanwhile Atong said he has a close relationship with Gretchen and her longtime boyfriend Tonyboy Cojuangco because they are business partners in his casino and sabong businesses.
"Ngayon nung pumasok ako sa casino, 'yong family ko tsaka sila Tony Boy Cojuangco, sila Gretchen nagkaroon kami ng mga joint ventures. Magkakasosyo kami," he clarified.
He said Gretchen invested in his Okada business. He added Gretchen is close to his family and even to his wife.
"Sa Okada sila, sa Okada. May junket ako doon 'yong grupo na 'yan meron akong mga junket diyan. Nag-invest din sila Gretchen sa negosyo namin so pati sa sabong nag-invest din si Gretchen, magkakasama kami," Atong said.
"So naging close si Gretchen sa family ko, Naging close siya sa asawa ko sa lahat."
He said if people see them together in casinos it was because of their businesses together.
"Kung nakikita man kami ng mga tao na magkakasama maski sa sabungan o sa casino 'yon ang iniinterpret nila eh, conclusion lang nila 'yon," he said. "Kini-clear ko lang na kung ano man 'yong iniisip nila eh sarili na lang nilang isip nila 'yon." — LA, GMA News