MANILA, Philippines – When he was talking with his wife, Patricia, about their marital problem, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista said he asked Patricia about its effects on their children, all below the age of 18.
“Sabi ko, ‘Okay, papa’no mangyayari sa mga bata ‘pag ito ay mabulatlat sa buong mundo?‘” Bautista recalled in an interview on the ANC television show Headstart on Wednesday, August 9.
(I said, “Okay, what will happen to the kids once this is exposed to the whole world?”)
“Sabi niya (She said), ‘No, no. The Universe will take care of them,'” Bautista said, quoting his wife who believes she has a third eye.
Bautista cried on national TV when he recalled this story on Wednesday, as he said his wife’s exposé against him was unfair to their children.
His 47-year-old wife, Patricia, earlier ran to the media to accuse the Comelec chairman of having nearly P1 billion ($19.76 million) in unexplained wealth. (READ: Who is Comelec chair’s estranged wife Patricia Bautista?)
Bautista, the former CEO of the group that ran the Shangri-La malls and hotels in the Philippines, denied his wife’s accusations.
He said her exposé was part of an “extortion attempt.” He also sued his wife on Tuesday, August 8, for robbery and extortion, after she supposedly “ransacked” his cabinet in their condominium unit last year and “stole” his “financial documents.”
‘The mother has their ears’
In tears, Bautista said of their marital woes on Wednesday: “‘Yun ngang aking isang anak, hindi na pumapasok dahil dito (One of my children is no longer going to school because of this). Is the Universe taking care of them right now? It’s not fair to them. That’s the problem.”
The 53-year-old Comelec chairman was answering a question from Headstart anchor Karen Davila whether Mrs Bautista is “unwittingly used” for other agenda.
Bautista said: “I don’t know anymore, Karen. 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.”
The Comelec chairman and Mrs Bautista have 4 children – all boys – aged 8, 13, 14, and 16.
He said one of their children, in fact, told him when he tried to explain his side: “I don’t want to hear about it.”
“But the mother has their ears,” Bautista said. “And again, I don’t want to separate them from their mother, because I know also that boys being boys are closer to their mother. But I’ve not been given a fair shake in this regard.”
Kids ‘being bullied’
The Comelec chairman cried in another part of his Headstart interview, when he talked about Mrs Bautista’s lawyer, Martin Loon.
On Loon, Bautista said: “We met several times. He’s a friend and I really thought he was a friend who was really concerned about my children.”
“He kept on telling me about how he does not want my children to go through the same things that his half brothers had to go through because of what happened to his father. And I believed him,” Bautista said.
Crying, the elections chief continued: “But I ask him now, with what’s happening, you know, my kids don’t go to school anymore. They’re being bullied. Again, is that being fair, Martin Loon?”
In a separate Headstart interview on Tuesday, Mrs Bautista explained that she brought the issue to the media for her and her children’s safety.
“In truth, regardless of the differences that Andy and I have had, I have never, ever taken into consideration that he would ever put my children in harm’s way, or myself in harm’s way,” Bautista’s wife said.
“But discovering these things changed my mind because of his position and the possible ramifications it may entail if things are discovered to be remiss in some way,” she added.
Wife: Kids should know ‘corruption not OK’
Davila later asked Bautista’s wife why she chose to expose her husband’s alleged unexplained wealth, when other wives would keep the problem private when faced with the same situation.
Mrs Bautista said: “I feel, by doing this, by being careless or whatever it is, it would put my children in danger, because what would happen if somebody actually comes out and proves that all of this is true?”
“Number one, nobody will believe that I don’t know anything, after 17 years of marriage, estranged or not. People may think I’m complicit,” she said.
She said she knows “it’s a really, really difficult time” for their kids, and she “would have preferred not to make them go through this.”
Mrs Bautista told Davila, who also has children: “But they have to know also – you know, you have kids, and you know that more than what you tell them, it’s what you show them. And they have to know also the difference between right and wrong, and more than that, that corruption is not okay.”
Mrs Bautista’s own parents support the Comelec chair.
The Bautistas’ marital problems became the talk of the town after Mrs Bautista brought their issues to the media, prompting calls for Bautista to resign or get impeached over unexplained wealth. (READ: LIST: Bank accounts, properties Comelec chief must explain)
Bautista lamented that their personal problem is being tainted by politics.
A Harvard and Ateneo graduate who became a law school dean, Bautista was named Comelec chairman in May 2015 by then president Benigno Aquino III.
He was previously head of the Presidential Commission on Good Government, which runs after the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses. (READ: FAST FACTS: Who is Comelec chair Andres Bautista?)
His wife’s exposé, which was preceded by the couple’s meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte, comes at a time when Duterte ally Ferdinand Marcos Jr is claiming election fraud as part of his plan to unseat Vice President Leni Robredo.
“Let’s face it. There is a demolition job against me,” the Philippines’ elections chief said. “Now, as to why, I think that’s for people to judge. I just hope people are gonna be fair.” – Rappler.com
*$1 = P50.60