BACOLOD City Lone District Representative Greg Gasataya responded to the open letter of his estranged daughter Gabie, who sought child support, saying he did not abandon her and would rather deal with the issue privately.
The Canada-based Gabie or Gabrielle is the lawmaker’s 18-year-old daughter with his ex-wife Bacoleña Odette Montelibano. She posted a letter to his biological father on Facebook that went viral last weekend.
The teener said that since she is “going to university this fall,” she is hoping to minimize her tuition debts with the help of Gasataya whom, she said, had abandoned his obligation to her by not providing child support.
“My program will cost me $50,000 by the end of four to five years which has to be paid starting six months after graduation,” Gabie said in her post.
She also told her father, “You became every poor student’s champion, except mine, your own daughter. You are sending your stepdaughter to one of the most expensive universities in the Philippines – and yet you have abandoned me.”
Gasataya also has a minor son with wife Maita.
In his statement to Sun.Star Bacolod on Monday, Gasataya said, “(t)he claims of abandonment is not correct as this is a situation of separation brought about by the declaration of the nullity of marriage.”
“We went through a legal process and as a result, the custody of Gabie was decreed to her mother,” he said, adding that “(t)he separation from Gabie has also been a very difficult process for me as well.”
Gasataya added: “To put things in its proper perspective, I have tried to provide for Gabie. This is in fact evident in the remittances that I have made, including an amount for her debut held last January 2016.”
The lawmaker said in an earlier telephone interview that he could hardly raise the amount stated by Gabie, but promised to will find means on how he could assist his daughter in her studies.
“As a former media practitioner, I am appealing to my former colleagues to be more understanding as we go through a situation that I am in right now, and with Gabie becoming of legal age and can decide for herself without any interference,” Gasataya said.
“I am hopeful that this is an opening for me to pick up where we left off,” he added.
Gasataya’s lawyer Joselito Bayatan said in a separate interview that Gabie’s letter is a matter of private and personal issue, which doesn't need to be posted on social media.
“It’s a family problem and it was already addressed through a legal procedure,” he added.