The 18-year-old daughter of newly-elected Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya has posted an open letter exposing her father for his alleged failure to provide her child support, which has gone viral and has been picked up on several blogs on Facebook.
Gabie Gasataya, who now lives in Canada, also furnished a copy of her letter to President Rodrigo Duterte.
The congressman, when reached by the DAILY STAR said he had seen the letter on Facebook but did not give his reaction, which he left to his lawyer, Joselito Bayatan, to do.
The 18-year-old said she is the biological daughter of the congressman whom he has neglected for the last 15 years.
“Though I bear your name and your blood runs in my veins, you have never been a father to me,” she wrote.
She said she has successfully finished high school in Canada and is about to start university life. But before she starts this new chapter in her life she needs closure on what he didn't do when she reached out to him earlier this year, she added.
She said when she was 11 years old and about to leave the Philippines in 2009 the congressman broke her heart when he did not even show up to say goodbye.
Her mother had arranged for their meeting for the last time and he stood her up at the last minute for some flimsy reason, she wrote.
“I remember holding back the tears as I asked my mom why…but she didn't have any answers for me,” the now 18-year-old said.
She said in her 7 years in Canada she has not received a single call from the congressman, nor one Christmas or birthday card.
So she cannot even call the congressman “father”.
“I am Gabie Gasataya, daughter of my mother, step-daughter of my uncle, sibling to my half-brother, granddaughter to my nana, grandpa and lolo…I am Gabie Gasataya, daughter of the universe, but not yours. I stopped asking why a long time ago. I know that dwelling on it will only screw me up. I am smart enough to keep that thought sealed in the deep recesses of my brain,” she wrote.
But she said where the congressman's father-daughter relationship with her stops, his legal responsibility does not.
“As a member of the newly installed Philippine Congress, I know you have full understanding of family law. But even with that understanding, you have clearly and deliberately abandoned your obligation to me by not providing child support,” she wrote.
The 18-year-old said the congressman only did so in 2012 and 2013 when he sent $100-$150 from time to time which he abruptly cut off.
Back then, she said her mother had asked the congressman for child support, knowing it was only a matter of time before she was to go to university.
Before her 18th birthday earlier this year, she said she told her mother she would ask her biological father again for child support because it was her right as his biological child.
She said she was also burdened with the thought of finishing university with a $50,000 student loan so her mother found a lawyer in Bacolod to represent her and an undertaking was drafted for the congressman to sign.
“The undertaking stated that you swear to pay a monthly child support until I finish university. But you never signed the undertaking. On April, 2016, the child support that you started sending on January, 2016 stopped. Similar to what you've done in 2013, you cut me off without any explanation,” she said.
The teenager said she knows the next logical thing is to push through with her child support case to compel the congressman to fulfill his responsibility.
She said it is an irony that the congressman's campaign slogan for the May polls was that he champions education for the poor.
“And here I am, your own flesh and blood, and you intentionally cut me off. You became every poor student's champion, except mine, your own daughter. You are sending your step-daughter to one of the most expensive universities in the Philippines -- and yet you have abandoned me,” the 18-year-old said.
She said when it was brought to the attention of the congressman that she is pursuing the child support case, three of his political friends and donors contacted her mother so she would not pursue the case.
On an internet phone conference with her mother, she said the congressman's political friends offered to pay for her child support in the amount of P2 million in his behalf.
She said the congressman and his friends then told her mother delete all the negative posts she wrote on Facebook against him.
His friends also asked that the child support case be dropped because they would take care of her, the 18-year-old said.
PROMISES IN MAY
She said the congressman then said his group would send $4,000 by the end of May 2016 to cover for her university deposit, the 18-year-old said.
But she said the congressman has forgotten about such agreement.
“Once again I became a victim of your schemes. Your political friends were worried that your name will be tainted and your transition from the city government to congress will be a rough one with a child support case on your head so you stopped me from pursuing the case with another false promise… another lie. Should I have expected anything less from you?” she asked.
She said she applied for a student loan which has to be paid when she finishes university, and while she knows her mother will do everything to help her in her journey, it would have been a huge help if he championed her education, too.
She said the congressman is now a true-blue politician who can deceive and play on the hopes and future of an 18-year-old girl like her.
“I am dismayed that you have lost your humanity when it comes to me…I cannot imagine how you credit your victories to the Glory of God and profess to be a good Christian when you can do this to me,” she said.
The 18-year-old said the letter she has posted on the Internet is her closure.
PAYMENT AND CLOSURE
“I want you to know how I feel. I am dismayed. When before I felt robbed of a relationship with you, now I feel disgust at what a politician you have become. I want the people you serve to know who you really are,” she said.
‘This here, is my payment and my closure – to expose you for who you really are,” she ended.
Bayatan, counsel of Gastaya, said "The tenor of the letter seems ironic and loaded with contradictions.”
He said while the daughter completely denounces the congressman as her father, she purports that she needs support from the man with whom she had her blood in her veins.
“We can better understand such statement of a daughter with tender mind that she honors her father Cong. Greg Gasataya in as much as her father honors her. We do not believe that daughter Gabie would have thought to also denounce the Fourth Commandment to honor one's father,” Bayatan said
He said Gabie is the daughter of the congressman from a first marriage that was long declared by the court as null and void, allowing him to remarry.
"That while daughter Gabie belongs to the voided marriage, she, however, is still, by law, considered as the legitimate child of Cong. Greg Gasataya and his former spouse. Being so, Cong. Greg Gasataya has been tendering support to daughter Gabie conscious of his obligation as father and as a matter of consequence of the court decision in nullifying the first marriage,” he claimed.
This matter of support is, however, a joint obligation together with his former spouse. It would be unfair to misinterpret that this obligation of support is exclusively the congressman's responsibility, Bayatan said.
"Support as always considered in law and jurisprudence shall be in proportion to the resources or means of the giver, who is Cong. Greg, in this instance, and to the necessities of the recipient who is daughter Gabie,” he said.
“While Cong. Greg is earning peso here in the Philippines it cannot necessarily meet the high demand of the necessities of Gabie in the USA (she lives in Canada),” Bayatan said.
Bayatan said “the congressman has been sending his daughter remittances although it may appear meager to her point of view. “But nevertheless, Cong. Greg Gasataya has been conscientious in doing his role as a father. We have records to show and prove it,” he claimed.
The congressman continues to honor his daughter Gabie “with his unfailing support depending upon his means and affordability”, Bayatan said.*CPG
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