Bautista couple marital tiff has more than meets the eye

IN A HIGH SOCIETY marital fight that was supposed to be confined inside their bedroom, Comelec Chairman Andy Bautista and his wife Patricia suddenly swung their door open and let the public entered for them to see what she called as the ‘dirty’ secrets of her husband.

In doing so, their private marital disagreements became very public with wide and far-reaching national and political implications.

This after the wife revealed that Bautista has more than P1-B in an unexplained wealth which impliedly could have come from his shady dealings relative to the 2016 elections.



Her revelations therefore naturally piqued the interests of many political quarters and personalities especially those losing candidates who claimed to have been cheated in the last elections through the so-called ‘hocus-pcos’.

At least for some of senators involving some issues encountered during the 2016 presidential elections is something worth peering into.

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III moved to ask the upper chamber conduct an inquiry into the allegations against Bautista, even knowing full well that it might put at stake the credibility of the last national elections.

Bautista’s own wife insinuated that money could have possibly changed hands with her husband, the poll body chief himself at the receiving end, of the alleged payoffs, by technology provider, Smartmatic which supplied the optical machine reader that effectively read the results of the polls.

Sen. Grace Poe wasted no time in supporting Sen. Sotto’s resolution, not to look into the allegations on Bautista’s supposed links with the law firm that provided legal services to Smartmatic, but to ascertain the truth behind the claims of his own wife.

It is worthy to note that Poe ran for the presidency during the 2016 elections as “independent” candidate but lost to now President Duterte and Sen. Sotto was in her senatorial slate.

Sen. Sotto admitted that it cannot be helped but for some quarters to raise suspicions on his move and take note of possible political angle, given the fact that his own political party, the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) backed Sen. Poe in her presidential bid last year.

“Pag may ganyan na issue may kanya-kanya na kaagad impression ang tao eh,” Sen. Sotto said in dismissing such assumptions.


Alleged Cheating

There had been reports of alleged “cheating” in the polls, which was left unsubstantiated though, by the previous administration supposedly to favor their then standard bearer, former senator and Interior Sec. Manuel “Mar” Roxas II.

Patricia allegedly stumbled upon several checks and commission sheets that purportedly came from lawyer Nilo T. Divina, managing law partner of Divina Law.

Bautista does not deny the fact that he’s close to Divina, who happens to be also the lawyer of his father-in-law Dr. Daniel Vasquez.

“Precisely ang daming pwedeng maaektuhan kung merong lalabas na may mga perang nagpalit or money changed hands in the 2016 elections and it involves Comelec syempre marami ng lalabas na ganyan “ m,Sotto said.

"All the possibilities are there that’s why it needs to be clarified, that’s why I believe an inquiry is necessary. Kasi kahit na before that, marami ng nagsasabi na yung disqualification kay Sen. Poe was initiated by some law firm. Eh yan eh konektado rin kahit papano yan dun sa 2016 elections so maraming konektadong issue eh,” he added.

The senator was referring to the disqualification case lodged against Sen. Poe before the Comelec in 2015, few months before the poll exercise, owing to her alleged failure to meet the requirements of the Constitution, one of which is the 10-year residency.

Supposedly, Sen. Poe, who was then leading the presidential preference polls, became resident only on July 2006 when she applied for dual citizenship or two months short of the residency requirement.

The Comelec division that handled the case disqualified the senator but was overturned by the Supreme Court.

The then petitioner was lawyer Estrella Elamparo who is allegedly connected to the Divina Law firm.


Allegation of Corruption of Epic Proportions

It’s water under the bridge now, Sen. Poe said, especially since she was the first to concede in the polls and she maintained belief that it was Pres. Duterte who won the elections.

But it cannot be denied that a number of other positions are under question from the vice presidency down, she said.

“Yun ang maaaring magkaroon ng pagdududa. Pero inuulit ko, para doon sa mga nagsasabi na baka pulitika ito, ako wala akong kwestiyon, hands-down panalo si Pangulong Duterte. Pero doon sa ibang dikit ang laban, baka doon magkaroon ng implikasyon,” she said. 

The issues being thrown at Bautista, Sen. Poe added, goes beyond a domestic dispute.

“It is an allegation of corruption of epic proportions that definitely concerns public interest given the sensitive position in our democratic set up Chairman Bautista occupies,” she said.

It can no longer be framed merely as a "wife vs. husband" quarrel. The information made public points to the possibility of a "husband vs. the people" case, Sen. Poe added.

“Yes, we should allow the proper and duly mandated offices to look deeper into the criminal aspect of the case, however, without any intention of pre-empting any possible complaint for impeachment in the Lower House” she noted.

"These investigations should not deter the Senate from looking into the veracity of the other aspects of the allegations that appear to be supported by documentary evidence for purposes of coming up with appropriate remedial legislation,” the senator stressed.


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Sunday, 23 September 2018
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