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Gambling lord Charlie “Atong” Ang denied Monday (October 21) that he was in a romantic relationship with the 26-year-old niece of actresses Gretchen and Claudine Barretto despite social media posts hinting about their special past.

In an interview on dzBB radio, Ang said he treated Nicole Barretto “like a daughter.”

“Talagang very close ako kay Nicole. Talagang naging parang anak ko na rin talaga ‘yan,” he said.

Ang said he sees Nicole’s family like his own since her mother, Marichi, helped him with business after he got out of prison.

“Minahal ko na naman ‘yong family na ‘yan magkasama naman kami before,” he said.

Ang was dragged into the Barrettos’ latest public feud amid reports that his presence at the wake of the family patriarch with Gretchen angered Nicole.

A scuffle ensued at the wake, with some eyewitness accounts claiming Nicole tried to hurt Gretchen.

Nicole claimed Gretchen “stole” Ang but the actress responded by saying it was her niece who supposedly snatched the gambling lord from Claudine.

Asked about Nicole’s perception about their relationship, Ang said: “Maiintindihan ko rin kasi si Nicole kasi naging close kami.”

A now-deleted Instagram post by Claudine dated June 6, 2014 showed Ang and Nicole together. Her caption read: “Mr.Atong Ang & the love of his life Nicole Barretto & i with the Love birds:) @colebarretto”

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