Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya said yesterday that the claims of abandonment by his 18-year-old daughter by his previous marriage, are not correct.
Gabie Gasataya, who now lives in Canada, has posted an open letter exposing her father for his alleged failure to provide her child support, which has gone viral.
The 18-year-old said she is the biological daughter of the congressman whom he has neglected for the last 15 years.
Gasataya said this is a situation of separation brought about by the declaration of the nullity of marriage.
This part of his life has been an open book to the public ever since. They went through a legal process and as a result, the custody of Gabie was decreed to her mother, he said.
“As I try to reflect on my personal life despite our economic hardships and trials, my parents did not abandon us, therefore the claim of abandonment is far from my mind,” the solon said.
The separation with Gabie had also been a very difficult process for him as well, he said.
To put things in their proper perspective, he has tried to provide for Gabie. This is in fact evident in the remittances that he had made including an amount for her debut held last January, the solon said.
“If you will examine our family life now, I can say that I am fulfilling my obligations as a husband and as a father, and if the circumstances would have been different with Gabrielle, I would gladly perform what is expected of a good father of the family,” he said.
As a former media practitioner, he is appealing to his former colleagues to be more understanding as they go through this, the solon said.
“With a situation that I am in right now and with Gabie coming of a legal age and can decide for herself without any interference, I am hopeful that this is an opening for me to pick up where we have left off,” he said.
Meanwhile, Odette Montelibano, the solon's ex-wife, said it was in 2012 and 2013 when he sent Gabie child support and then he abruptly stopped it. He was not sending child support regularly, she said.
“I took her with me to Canada in 2009 and since she got here you've never sent her a single birthday card or a Christmas card. You have never phoned her. When she graduated from high school in June, you never even congratulated her,” she said.
Montelibano said the hardest thing that she ever did in her life was to leave Gabie and her half-brother in 2005 when she went to Canada to work as a nanny. For four years she was separated from her children. But she constantly phoned, emailed, snail mailed, used chat, video chat, sent money… But since she left in 2005 to 2009, her sister told her that the solon only came to see Gabie once, and her daughter does not even remember, she said.
“There is also what we call emotional abandonment, Greg. You have no idea how hard it was to tell her you cannot come to say goodbye to her in 2009,” she added.
Montelibano said no one is questioning the nullity of their marriage and that both of them have moved on and have both re-married.
“But your daughter is asking why you have avoided her as well. It is not a question of whether Gabie is a daughter from an affair or a legit marriage. She is your first-born,” she said.
“Yes Greg, I fully agree with you. No contest. You are the perfect husband to your wife and you probably win the father of the year award to your stepdaughter and son. But no one is questioning that, either,” Montelibano said.
No matter the circumstances, he has the legal and moral obligation to support and protect his daughter, Gabie, she said.
Montelibano said she feels so sorry at how little the solon knows Gabie. “After her open letter, you must know by now that she can decide for herself without any interference or influence,” she said.
“Before she published the letter I asked her several times if this is what she really wants to do. She knows not to expect anything, but she is aware of the emotional costs. But she is strong and brave and I have her back, and will stand by her no matter what,” she said.
You said: "I am hopeful that this is an opening for me to pick up where we left off.” You have your emissary sent us a pm on the weekend. But you yourself haven't reached out to her. Is that a good start to pick up where you left off? Just asking,” Montelibano said.*CGS
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