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PUV drivers' party-list rep defends lavish wedding during pandemic

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
PUV drivers' party-list rep defends lavish wedding during pandemic
Rep. Claudine Diana Bautista (DUMPER PTDA party-list) poses for a photo with her husband, Jose "Tracker" Lim IV, during their lavish wedding at the exclusive Balesin Island Club.
Michael Cinco / Instagram

MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker whose party-list claims to represent public utility drivers and commuters defended her lavish wedding at the exclusive Balesin Island Club amid the pandemic, saying that this was the "product of [her] husband’s hard work."

Rep. Claudine Bautista (DUMPER-PTDA party-list) has been under fire because of the cost of the wedding and her designer wedding dress.

"My husband has been planning this special day with me for years even before the pandemic, and it pains us to see how things after our wedding turned out," Bautista said Thursday in a statement.

She added: "My husband is a kind and loving person and all he wanted was to give me the wedding of my dreams."

Bautista’s husband, Jose “Tracker” Lim IV, is the son of the owner of Toyota Davao. Bautista, meanwhile, hails from a political family. She is the daughter of Davao Occidental Gov. Claude Bautista and the niece of Rep. Lorna Bautista-Bandigan (Davao Occidental).

Private wedding 'separate from life as public servant'

Bautista said they intended to keep the wedding private, arguing that the event was "supposed to be separate from my life as a public servant." 

Fashion designer Michael Cinco, who designed her dress, posted photos of the nuptial, and these soon went viral.

This is their second wedding ceremony as they already exchanged vows in a civil wedding ceremony in January officiated by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Parrying criticism that she has done nothing for the sector she claims to represent, Bautista said she has worked to help PUV drivers and commuters, who have been badly hit by the pandemic as restrictions on public transportation are in place.

She claimed that through her help, 18,000 PUV drivers had been vaccinated and that assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Labor and Employment and the Department of Health were doled out nationwide. She did not elaborate.

Bautista added that she has also sent out “in [her] personal capacity” more than 1.1 million grocery packs, personal protective equipment, insurance policies and relief assistance to PUV drivers and commuters.

She also said that she donated P3 million to unspecified doctors and nurses from her own personal funds.

Bautista said she would like to move on from the controversy surrounding her wedding and that she would leave it to her legal team to address any statements from "people of influence."

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