SPECKS OF LIFE: Bautista vs Bautista

It is not about her as it is more about him.

The millennials reading this won’t probably understand if I mention that the scandal that has exposed Comelec Chair Andres Bautista and his estranged wife Patricia is quite similar or parallels that of the decades-old movie “Kramer vs Kramer.”

The American film touches the family life of an ordinary advertising man who was facing a divorce suit from his wife and the custody of their only son.

In sum, this appears to be what originally was the problem facing Bautista (Andy to his friends) and Tiz (Patricia). A simple family spat that turned into a bizarre family drama that has turned into a national telenovela.

According to the wife, her husband has not been fulfilling her fatherly duties to their children as she incurred P3.2M credit card debts for several years since their estrangement which amount she used to defray expenses for the kids.

In the ensuing days, Patricia had to enlist lawyers to help her settle separation issues including conjugal properties and monies.

As the media brought forth her story, she uncovered some “secrets’ her husband was keeping away from her: 32 passbooks containing large sums of deposits with the Luzon Development Bank, title certificates of properties and a lot more which she believed he should have told her being the wife.

The wife and her lawyers now suspect that the huge sums Andy was stashing could be part of “unexplained wealth” which the former has not declared in his SALN as required by law of government employees and officials.

Everyone is asking: Why would anyone deposit money in the threshold of P500 thousand daily if the money was earned clean and legit? Why in such a small bank as Luzon Development Bank?

To cut the story short, Chair Bautista’s defense has been seen to veer away from the main issue which is: Why did he not include in his SALN the total amount of P1.2B discovered by his wife.

You will recall that the late Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona was impeached because of this inaccuracy in his SALN.

Patricia’s lawyers say Andy’s strategy to file a suit against his wife was designed to “silence her from speaking the truth.”

Patricia realizes that her children will have to bear the stigma of the scandal. Her lawyer-adviser Atty. Lorna Kapunan said while her client seeks a settlement of half of the conjugal property’s value, Patricia did not want to take a share of some of the aforesaid amount that has been acquired illegally.

Kapunan bared on TV interviews that the Comelec chair might be receiving some fees from Smartmatic lawyer Nilo Divina, an allegation that the Comelec chief also admitted on national TV as having received “referral fees.”

The point is that Andy’s actions may have been inappropriate if he indeed received “referral fees” while he is Comelec chair.

He has verbally agreed to be investigated and is not inclined to resign his post.

Chair Bautista appeared emotional and teary eyed in his early TV interviews, eliciting sympathy from some womenfolk, including a lady co-anchor of a prominent radio station in Manila.

The SALN issue will be the subject of investigations if ever there will be in the Lower House or in the Senate.

Now, if there are moves to file impeachment proceedings, and this progresses in the House of Representatives, there won’t be any need for hearings in both chambers.

We can’t say for sure if the evidence is strong or not.

Our yardstick will be the Corona experience which the entire nation saw on TV up to the very end.

Certainly, there will be repercussions because of the sensitive position that Andy Bautista holds.

The credibility of the 2016 presidential polls may be affected. Where will this hullaballoo lead us?

I foresee mass demonstrations that could further polarize an already divided people. (Email your feedback to fredlumba@yahoo.com.) John 12:47: “As for the person who hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it.” GOD BLESS THE PHILIPPINES!

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