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Bautista files robbery, extortion raps vs wife

According to Bautista, he filed charges of grave coercion, qualified theft, robbery and extortion before the Taguig City Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday afternoon against Patricia, who had earlier accused him of having ill-gotten wealth of close to P1 billion. Philstar.com/Efigenio Toledo IV, File

MANILA, Philippines - As accusations continue to fly from both sides, Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista has filed multiple charges against his estranged wife Patricia Cruz-Bautista.

According to Bautista, he filed charges of grave coercion, qualified theft, robbery and extortion before the Taguig City Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday afternoon against Patricia, who had earlier accused him of having ill-gotten wealth of close to P1 billion. 

He challenged his wife to also go to court, saying, “I don’t think it is fair to drag private people into this whole thing.”

“These things should all be presented in court, not the media. We’ll explain everything in due time, but why are they turning this into a media play?” he said yesterday in an interview with ANC.

Bautista reiterated that 10 months ago, Patricia ransacked his locked cabinets and stole bankbooks, gift certificates, financial statements and other documents that were used to fabricate supposedly incriminating material against him. 

“She took the documents but she didn’t even know what they are all about. She kept on saying that she was the one preparing it (documents presented), I don’t think she was. There are other people (involved),” he noted.

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The poll chief reiterated that “this is a case of extortion and blackmail and falsification and all that stuff.”  

He earlier accused his wife of demanding P620 million in divorce settlement.

Orchestrated campaign

Bautista said the accusations are part of “an orchestrated campaign” against him, the Comelec and the elections but he stopped short of saying Patricia had a part in it.  

“I don’t know anymore. I used to know her. But as you know, she thinks differently. We think differently. She supposedly has a third eye. Again, I’m not saying that’s right or wrong. It’s just that she sees differently,” he added.

Patricia reportedly has a “third eye” and this is what drew her close to her alleged lover, businessman-model Alfonso “Alvin” Lim, who she described earlier as her close friend and fellow “energy healer.”

Bautista admitted he is worried for their four sons, one of whom stopped going to school while the others are suffering from bullying. He was also concerned about his mother who had suffered a stroke in the past. 

“This is what is painful for me. Our personal problems are being tainted with politics and I am really worried for my family, especially our four sons,” said Bautista, who was close to tears. 

Bautista recalled that he started to have problems with his wife sometime in 2012 or 2013 when rumors circulated that she was seeing another man.

“I was advised to file charges but I couldn’t do it because of the boys, because I recognize that for boys to grow up properly they need a father and a mother. Basically I accepted it. I ignored the pain that it caused me because I was looking at a bigger picture – the welfare of my children,” he said. 

During his 50th birthday party, he said Patricia came but stayed silent the whole time and then left.

He alleged that Patricia has not been sleeping in their house three to four times a week for two to three years already.

“Basically we are estranged. I don’t know what kind (of relationship is that),” he added.  

Mother-in-law’s support

The mother-in-law of Bautista broke her silence yesterday and took his side in the growing dispute between him and her daughter.

In a statement that circulated on Facebook, Patricia’s mother Baby Cruz-Vazquez said she had “known Andy for many years, and I know him to be an honest man, upright, God-fearing husband and father.”

“He is a man of unquestioned integrity, the kind of man any mother would entrust her daughter to. This is why I cannot believe the accusations against him, even if they are from my own daughter,” she noted.

Bautista, however, refused to comment on the statement when asked by Comelec reporters.  

Vazquez claimed she is greatly saddened by recent events involving daughter Trisha and her husband.

“As a mother, you always wish happiness for your daughter and her family. Sadly, fairy tales sometimes do not always come true. It also pains me to see my grandchildren go through this trial that was not their doing nor their fault,” she added.

“I continue to pray for Andy and his family, that they stand fast and find the strength to face this storm. I also pray for my daughter, that she realizes what are truly important in life,” Vazquez maintained.

The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) said the agency would cooperate with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in the probe of the alleged ill-gotten wealth of Bautista.

PCGG acting chairman Reynold Munsayac said the commission would assist the NBI and the justice department in their investigation.

He did not elaborate on the specifics of the assistance that the PCGG would provide to the NBI.

Bautista was head of the PCGG before he was appointed by former president Benigno Aquino III to the poll body in 2015.

In her affidavit, Bautista’s wife Patricia claimed that there were ghost employees at the PCGG identified as Howie Vitas and Joey Perry at the time Bautista was the chairman.

She also alleged that her husband received commissions from a law firm for supposedly recommending clients, including two sequestered companies of the PCGG.

The Comelec chief denied that Vitas and Perry were ghost employees, saying they were hired as consultants of the commission. He also claimed that there was nothing illegal with accepting fees from the law firm.

Among the pieces of evidence Patricia exposed were Bautista’s 35 passbooks from Luzon Development Bank totaling P329.2 million, an RCBC dollar account with $12,778, an RCBC peso account with P257,931. 

She also claimed he has an HSBC account with HK$948,358 in deposits and one condo unit each in Bonifacio Global City’s High Street in Taguig City and another one in San Francisco, California. 

The Comelec chief also allegedly has investments abroad, among them Bauman Enterprises Ltd in British Virgin Islands in September 2010, which is a trustee company that Bautista set up with Bank of Singapore.  

Another is Mantova International Ltd., established in Brunei in April 2011, while the last is Mega Achieve Inc. established in Anguilla, a British overseas territory in the Caribbean in July 2014. – With Janvic Mateo

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