IN the past three weeks, mainstream and social media have been on a feeding frenzy on an unfolding drama cum scandal – always fodder for writers, opinion makers (including this writer) and anyone with the propensity to put their two cents worth on FB or twitter. The Bautista couple spectacle pushed from the front pages the current development on martial law in Marawi, the Bureau of Customs P6.4-billion shabu smuggling and PRRD’s pronouncements on charter change and federalism. As gathered from social media memes, support is seemingly divided evenly between Tisha, the aggrieved wife, and Andy the beleaguered public servant.
This could have been just an ordinary spat for an alienated couple except that the wife’s accusation has opened up a can of worms with implications on DU30’s drive against corruption in government. Furthermore, as Comelec chairman, the 2016 elections could have been impacted in ways not yet fathomed until the whole truth is ferreted out through the regular courts of justice – not through the media circus, where claims and counterclaims from both sides could go puff! Nada!
I will spare the readers the recounting of the details as the twists and turns of the narrative are out there; and depending on whose side you sympathize with, one of the parties may truly be corrupt and evil incarnate and deserve to be impeached and thrown in jail. There is none more despicable than a gifted public servant, with a good pedigree, a Harvard education, who has betrayed the public’s trust. If it is proven that Andy is such a one – if, and a big IF!
On the opposite side, is an articulate wife an “energy healer with a third eye” out to extricate herself from a now loveless marriage; and who has been painted as a scheming, manipulative and an extortionate woman trying to end a marriage and be with a “soul mate,” one not her husband.
They were married 17 years producing four boys raised and educated well. This marriage was one “to die for,” as both are scions of Manila’s crème de la crème. Not a few “solteros y solteras” must have shed a tear, leaving them salivating when this pair walked down the aisle. What happened to this marriage then is not of consequence here as countless similar marriages “made in heaven” have gone the way to hell.
As of the moment, I suspend judgement on both protagonists and wait until the case is litigated, if ever, in the courts of law, where evidence from both sides are presented and scrutinized; and not aired on some TV talk show presided over by some lady host out to extract the last ounce of gossip, prolonging in the process the agony of the families, especially the innocent ones.
To put in proper perspective the unfolding tragedy, perhaps a short timeline will help.
Sometime in 2012-2013, rumors came out that the wife was seeing someone who is her “soul mate” (according to Andy). Perhaps, the husband is to be faulted too for neglect. Since 2013, the wife wanted a separation but this did not materialize.
November 2016 when Andy was away on a trip, Tisha transferred $117,000 and P250,000 from their joint account to her personal account and took documents (including bank passbooks) and tried to prevent Andy from entering the conjugal home, upon the advice of her lawyer (Kapunan). Andy maintained that these documents were “stolen” from him.
Lawyers for both sides began to negotiate a ”commercial arrangement”. Oddly enough, Andy gave Tisha power of attorney to access and verify his bank accounts in December 2016, to assure her of their real wealth.
February 7, 2017, Tisha claimed her side asked for P260 million; Andy provided a letter from Kapunan (Tisha’s lawyer) demanding P620 million from him, to be paid by Andy in three installments until divorce in Hong Kong is granted. Negotiations failed and Kapunan was taken out of the case. A new lawyer was hired, Martin Loon, who reiterated in a text that Andy pay P620 million.
April 2, 2017, a term sheet mediated by a third party was arrived at, amounting to P90 million for Tisha, plusP60 million for the kids (total P150 million). This was also not signed by the parties.
Then late July or early August 2017, upon failure of negotiations, wife Tisha went public accusing Andy of “possibly amassing ill-gotten wealth”. She spewed out the first volley on TV behind a table of bank passbooks – 32 in all purportedly containing P320 million. “I am scared because I don’t know what it is…I’m holding this stuff and I don’t know how far-reaching it is. I found properties I’ve never heard of, apparently belonging to Andy, I found cash…In all honesty, I don’t know what they were. These should not be in the house. I would think that the safest place to bring this is to the President. And this is as high as it goes”. And this, after some eight months that these documents were in her possession. And she got an audience with DU30.
Andy’s retort was these documents, stolen from the conjugal home in November 2016 were used to pressure him on their negotiations and were not surrendered to authorities, as they should have, if indeed these documents are material to a crime (as per Andy). He claimed these were altered and some faked.
Last week, a case for grave coercion, qualified theft and robbery and extortion was filed by Andy against the wife. With this development, figures and evidence can now be verified upon investigation by the proper authorities and in the appropriate venue – the courts of law. Enough na, already!
Both claimed that they tried to shield their kids from all these but both camps proceeded to do just the opposite. Andy emotionally broke down on TV confessing that the kids no longer go to school as they are being bullied. Tisha, when asked about the effects on her kids, responded that the “universe will take care of the children”.