This week began with news about the accusation of Patricia Paz Bautista, estranged wife of Comelec Chair Andres “Andy” Bautista, that her husband amassed ill-gotten wealth amounting to one billion pesos. Patricia alleged that the Comelec chief owned assets such as bank accounts, passbooks and condominium units that were not included in the latter’s Statement of Asset, Liabilities and Network (SALN).
Chairman Bautista already denied Patricia’s accusation and revealed that his wife is trying to extort from him. He said that Patricia with whom he is separated since 2012 is demanding 620 million to settle an R.A 9262 (Anti-Violence Against Women and Children) case pending before the Taguig Prosecutor’s Office. But Bautista rejected the demand because he cannot afford such amount.
This appears to be a family problem that should have been kept private and dealt with solely by the concerned parties, away from the media and without the interference of public officials.We are not defending Andy Bautista here in the same way that we are not prejudging Patricia. However, a confluence of events will show that there is something more (or someone) behind this hullabaloo.
What specifically piqued our interest is the involvement of the president of the country no less in what should have been a private and personal affair. In her press conference, Patricia admitted that she personally met with Pres. Rodrigo Duterte in Malacanang on July 26, 2017, two days after the State of the Nation Address (SONA), to tell him what she knew. Undeniably, Patricia had Duterte’s ears as she and her lawyers were given 2 to 3 hours of the president’s precious time and supposedly “busy” schedule. Moreover, during the said meeting, the president summoned NBI Director Dante Gierran who was given a marching order to coordinate with Patricia and her lawyers, a special privilege given to a VIP guest of Malacanang.
The question that comes to mind is that whether or not the president committed obstruction of justice when he directly meddled and personally interfered in an investigation for a possible commission of an offense being conducted by the top investigative body of the government? Or is the president’s actuation tantamount to undue influence that may prejudice or render doubtful or incredible the result of the investigation by the NBI or the DOJ?
We will leave these questions hanging as we believe that the issue of possible commission of obstruction of justice or undue influence by the president should be discussed in another article.
So what is that “something more” that we mentioned behind this much-hyped and much-publicized expose’ of Patricia Bautista?
This morning, and as if on cue, Charie Villa, former official of ABS-CBN and reported to be the one arranging Patricia’s press conferences, posted on Facebook that Chairman Bautista received commissions from the DIVINA Law office (purported lawyer of SMARTMATIC) and mentioned too that UST Law Dean Nilo Divina who heads Divina Law is a lawyer of Mar Roxas.
Say that again? So what is the connection of Mar Roxas with all these mess?
First of all, as commented by Former USec. Abigail Valte at Villa’s Facebook post, Dean Divina or the DIVINA Law office never represented Mar Roxas in any case.
When asked by Valte the specific case that Dean Divina handled for Roxas, Villa did not respond and instead argued that Andy Bautista laundered ill-gotten wealth through Luzon Development Bank owned by Rene Limcaoco who was an undersecretary at DOTC when Roxas headed the department.
Huh? So what if Limcaoco was Roxas’ undersecretary?
Villa is apparently trying to implicate Roxas in the alleged corrupt activities of Chairman Bautista through guilt by association. Furthermore, Villa is trying to connect Roxas and/or the Liberal Party of the Philippines to the Comelec Chief and SMARTMATIC and eventually put credence to conspiracy theories that there was cheating last 2016 elections and the Comelec itself was complicit in such activity.
So what will Villa and the people running and financing this show gain by doing this since Roxas lost anyway last presidential election? The real target here is not really Mar Roxas.
The real and ultimate target is Leni Robredo and the vice-presidency.
And if Robredo is the ultimate target in this grand evil scheme, who will be the ultimate beneficiary? Ahh, we can smell the dirty money of the Marcoses all over the place. And we can see Malacanang’s blessings too.
Patricia might have legitimate issues with her husband. Truly, financial support, separation of property and other marital disputes are valid concerns. But it is just sad and unfortunate that she let herself be used by opportunistic people to promote their malicious political agenda.