MANILA, Philippines – Not only was the love gone. After four children and many years of sharing one bed, Commission on Elections (Comelec) chief Andres Baustista also felt that his wife’s respect for him had totally dissipated and that what she only wants now is money, lots of it.
“Ako po ang biktima dito. Biktima ako ng pagtataksil at biktima po ako sa panggagahasa sa aking sariling tahanan [I’m the victim here. I’m a victim of infidelity and a victim of rape in my own home],” Bautista recently said — a statement that could have come from a domestic violence victim who was thinking of filing an anti-VAWC (Violence Against Women and Their Children) case against the culprit only that the Comelec chief isn’t a woman and thus can’t use the anti-VAWC law to seek remedy.
But the poll chief did file a case against his wife of 17 years, days after Patricia Paz “Tisha” Cruz-Bautista, accused him of having nearly P1 billion in ill-gotten wealth that he could have allegedly amassed from questionable transactions while in public office.
In his complaint before the Taguig City Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday, the Comelec chief accused his wife of extortion, grave coercion, and qualified theft and robbery.
Bautista substantiated his allegations against Patricia by presenting to the prosecutor and also to the media pieces of evidence that would show how he was allegedly blackmailed, forced, and threatened by his wife and her lawyers to cough up about P620 million as divorce settlement, otherwise, Patricia would take steps against him, including seeing President Rodrigo Duterte and telling him about Bautista’s allegedly hidden riches.
February 2017 letter demands Bautista to give P500M, family residence to wife in three installments in exchange for divorce settlement
A letter dated February 7, 2017 signed by lawyer Lorna Kapunan, a copy of which was furnished to News5 by the Comelec chief, demanded from Bautista a total of P500 million in cash and two real properties in Taguig City that he should give to his wife in three installments until their marriage is dissolved by a Hong Kong court.
Patricia’s half-a-billion-peso demand plus two properties did not jibe with her claim during media interviews that she had only asked her husband a total settlement of P260 million.
The Comelec chief is wondering why his wife is asking for more than half of his alleged P1 billion net worth when Patricia is claiming that her husband could have possibly amassed the amount through illegal means.
In a recent media interview, Patricia, referring to her husband’s alleged undeclared wealth, said “corruption is not okay if this is corruption.”
In the February 7 letter, Kapunan told Bautista that Patricia “wants a dissolution of the absolute community of properties” and that his wife “has in her possession and/or control of certain documents to show your true net worth, which forms part of the absolute community of properties.”
The lawyer further informed Bautista that, “As part of her (Patricia’s) share in the absolute community of properties, our client demands that you produce and/or deliver” to her the following:
1) First installment of P200 million and two real estate properties – units 3 a/b at the South Tower of the Pacific Plaza Towers in Fort Bonifacio or the “family residence” that Bautista should turn over to his wife on February 16, 2017
2) Second installment of another P200 million that the Comelec chief should give to his wife not later than February 28, 2017 “upon filing of the divorce in Hongkong”
3) Third installment of P100 million that Bautista should give to Patricia upon the issuance of the divorce decree
Kapunan told Bautista in the letter that Patricia’s “final” demand “is thus made on you to produce and deliver…”
“Otherwise, we shall be constrained to file all necessary actions and avail of all other remedies against you and all other persons acting in complicity with, for and on your behalf, to protect the interests of our client,” the lawyer further told the poll chief.
SEE BELOW THE COPY OF THE FEB. 7, 2017 DEMAND LETTER TO BAUTISTA BY PATRICIA’S LAWYER:
Text messages allegedly from Atty. Loon tell Bautista to settle or wife would see Duterte
However, Bautista, who only declared a total net worth of P176.3 million in 2016, failed to produce his wife’s demands. This, according to Bautista, allegedly prompted Patricia’s camp to intensify its harassment against him.
The Comelec chief said that last June, his wife’s other lawyer, Martin Loon, sent him text messages about Patricia’s demands.
Bautista showed the messages allegedly sent to him by Loon, urging him to settle with Patricia and comparing his problem to a simple speeding ticket — a summons issued to someone for driving above the speed limit — that the poll chief can easily settle so that he, his children, and his wife can have a fresh start.
“Sir this is just a speeding ticket in life. In the bigger picture this will be nothing. You are still very young and have so much ahead of you. Sayang everything (Everything will be a waste) because neither you nor her nor kids will win this,” read one text message that allegedly came from Loon.
“Only your enemies will rejoice. I do not know who she consults about these things but Sir just fix it with her and talk with her maybe it will prevent all this,” the message further stated.
In another text message, Loon allegedly told Bautista: “You and your children still have a bright future ahead Sir. That proposed settlement is just a speeding ticket, and everyone will get a second chance to drive on the freeway again.”
Bautista replied to the messages: “Correct me if I am wrong Martin but the speeding ticket you have been referring to is at least 620 million –a world record for a ticket. I don’t have that money.”
The poll chief said he had received another text message allegedly from Loon telling him that, “Good afternoon Sir. Spoke to your wife today. I think we have to fix this asap Sir. She said she plans to see the President (Duterte) soon. I have a list of terms Sir.”
To which Bautista replied, “Sana (I hope there will be) no more threats Martin. I want to fix this asap as well.”
SEE BELOW THE EXCHANGE OF TEXT MESSAGES BETWEEN BAUTISTA AND ANOTHER PERSON, WHO IS ALLEGEDLY ATTY. MARTIN LOON:
After text threat that wife would meet Duterte, Patricia goes to Palace, talks to President
After receiving the text messages last June, Patricia indeed went to the Palace the following month, on July 26, to meet Duterte.
During her talk with the chief executive, Patricia disclosed that she was able to get documents proving that her husband had cash deposits, properties, and firms, worth nearly P1 billion that he did not allegedly include in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth.
Duterte and Patricia met again on August 1 in Malacañang, where the Comelec chief was also present.
Bautista countered Patricia’s claim. He denied underdeclaring his net worth and said that many of the documents presented by his wife to Duterte, the National Bureau of Investigation, and the media were fabricated.
“They stole documents. I don’t even know what they have. I don’t know whether these documents that they have are authentic because I know that they have fabricated, embellished. I have a list of the bank accounts. Out of 25 bank accounts, I would say maybe half would be fake,” said Bautista.
In a media interview on Wednesday, Bautista disclosed that his wife’s camp also allegedly sent a copy of an impeachment complaint that would be filed against him if he would not settle with Patricia.
The poll chief said the copy was sent on June 28, 2017 to his sister, mother-in-law (Pacita “Baby” Cruz-Vasquez) and cousin by an individual named Ivan Lu.
Bautista said the copy was sent to his family members apparently to pressure him to settle with Patricia or his wife’s camp would move to have him ousted as Comelec chief.
“Talagang to pressure me. Na sinasabing, ‘Oy ha, pag hindi ka magbayad, pai-impeach ka na,” said Bautista.
“Tama ba ‘yan? Ano ba talaga sila [Is that right? What are they really]? Are they crusaders or is it good or right? Or is it just a money play?,” the poll chief said.
“Ako naman, sabi ko nga, handang ibigay kung ano dapat ‘yong kanyang makuha. And again, that’s why people ask bakit…’yong kanyang sariling ina sa akin kumakampi,” he added.
[As I’ve said, I’m ready to give what she (Patricia) should get. And again, that’s why people ask why her own mother is siding with me.]
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