It was a brewing storm for the past months judging from the blind items and hushed talks making its rounds. Who would have thought that a blind item that I once heard on an AM radio show on my way to work about a Presidential appointee dubbed as “Angry Bird” would become a national headline in a matter of months? It was funny that the “item” was very precise with its details and the only thing that really stuck with me was Angry Bird’s kinky fetish. Don’t blame me but the anchor made the whole topic really juicy.
So after this Monday’s big reveal, I took the time to watch Karen Davila’s interview of Tisha Bautista and Commissioner Andy Bautista, on her morning show at ANC, to get a better grasp of what was being presented and the arguments being laid on the table for public consumption. You get a better insight of the issues after hearing both sides of the story. I took down notes that I deem valid and my own thoughts while watching the interview.
I have to say that Tisha Bautista was very composed throughout the whole interview. She acted what she was saying that she was not there to convince people to believe her. All that she pleaded was for them to look at the documents she had presented and then make a judgement. She was modest enough to steer clear of putting her estranged husband in a bad light when she reiterated that look at the documents before making the judgement. Her focus was clearly directed on the issue – what were these financial documents? She came in with a clear demarcation line of what is a domestic dispute and what is a government concern.
Tisha was right in saying that their marital woes is just a distraction on the real issue – her discovery of 36 LDB passbooks, pay envelope that go back to the PCGG years of Commissioner Bautista, commission handout reports, documents of BDO checks issued to LDB, and vital and sensitive correspondence. She focused on the issue of clarifying what these financial documents are that reflects billions of pesos that the commissioner possibly owns and was undeclared in his SALN.
As for the accusation on her alleged extramarital affairs, she categorically denied the accusation. She also raised a valid point on the allegation that she was just after the money when she said that by putting these questionable accounts forward, it will reduce the money that she could legally claim when their marriage gets dissolved. She could have easily earned half of these billions by just keeping silent. But she was very clear with what she wanted, she wanted what is rightfully and legally hers from their assets that is cleanly their ownership.
Tisha Bautista did confirm that the root of all these discoveries was their marital woes and did not deny that there were prior meetings where both parties were trying to resolve the marital issue. She did confirm that both parties were in the process of getting into an agreement but she felt uncomfortable with certain points in the agreement. Two of these clauses were her denial of the discoveries of this documents and her admittance to the understanding that some of the documents were related to a family business. I like the way her lawyer phrased it that Tisha Bautista agreed to the financial terms of the agreement but she did not agree to participate in the concealment of a possible crime.
Tisha Bautista understands that what she has presented now for public scrutiny is bigger than her and their domestic dispute but she also understands that she needs to stand up for what is right and that we should do something. I like the way she said it, stop complaining and do something about it. Her message was clear that we should look into these documents and take the necessary action based on the findings.
Commissioner Andy Bautista was a stark contrast to his estranged wife Tisha during his turn on the interview table. He sounded off like a whining brat who took offense that a broadsheet gave her wife more airtime than him. He was on that table to convince people that he was a poor victim and depicting his wife as an adulterer who is playing a part in orchestrating a demolition job against him. Interestingly, more airtime was spent on how sour their marital relationship turned out and the demolition plan against him rather than answering the allegations against him.
While Tisha came in with the stance that their marital woes was not the issue here, Andy came in with an attack that highlighted their marital problems. He started it off with a story on how his wife was unfaithful to him and what he went through when she told him that she has found her soulmate. She painted her wife, not only as a cheater, but as someone who completely turned her back to the family. He tried to paint the issue as a domestic dispute turned political at his expense by his wife and the people behind her.
When faced with the question regarding the vital documents found in his custody, he neither issues a categorical yes or no. He kept emphasizing that he needs to see these documents first. He does “subtly” confirm a couple of points to the issues raised at him:
- He does confirm that some of the 32 passbooks are actual existing and closed accounts. He confirms that these accounts were a product of family investments in forex and pyramid scheme, where he is either a co-investor or form part of the “and/or” bank accounts.
- He confirms that he recycles PCGG pay envelopes but does not categorically say that the money inside these envelopes were planted although he tries to imply that it might be and that he needs to see it first.
- Commissioner Andy Bautista confirms that SMARTMATIC is a client of the Divina Law Firm.
Despite these confirmations from the commissioner himself, he added that some of these bank passbook were probably falsified. Karen Davila was quick to retort that it would be difficult for Tisha to falsify a bank document to which he responded “I don’t know”.
Commissioner Andy also denied the allegation that he received any commission from anyone or the Divina Law Firm. He said that the checks issued to him was for the payment of a property that he sold to Nilo Divina which was being paid in installments.
In the same way as that of Tisha’s interview, he also confirms that he and his estranged wife were both on a negotiating table where he presented a document to support his claim of an initial 620 million settlement through Tisha Bautista’s first lawyer, Atty. Kapunan. He also confirms by showing the last settlement draft between him and the new lawyers of Tisha. Parts of the draft was read out loud by the host which also affirms it was the same parts that Tisha was not in agreeance to.
It is interesting to note that the focus of Commissioner Bautista was on the ongoing marital squabble with the attempt to depict Tisha as a vulture that was pouncing on a hapless victim. He never made a categorical admittance or denial to any of the allegations thrown at him but instead focused on the issue as an after effect of a domestic problem. It even came to the point that he started hitting on the new lawyers of his wife on a personal level. I had the impression that he came into the interview a bit rattled where his objective was to discredit his wife.
Tisha Bautista was on point with the fact that with our culture that is deeply embedded with too much drama similar to the soap operas that hound our television sets daily, their marital woes is really none of our business. It is their drama and theirs alone. The issue is not about their failed marriage and the issue goes far beyond that. Hence, their marital issue is theirs to settle and not for the public to meddle.
Having said that, the real issue at hand are the authenticity and the ownership of the financial documents presented by Tisha Bautista which is allegedly owned by Commissioner Andy Bautista. This is the first step in finding the truth behind these allegations. Tisha presented it very well by encouraging the public and the authorities to look at these documents before making the judgement. Are these documents valid? Once this is answered then we can then check whether this documents are really owned by the COMELEC Commissioner before we can proceed to any further action.
Based on the “subtle” admittance of Commissioner Andy that some of these bank accounts exist and some were already closed, then we can proceed with the inquiry whether these accounts are owned and/or co-owned by Andy. He already made a claim that these accounts are owned by his family and he is just part of the “and/or” management of these accounts. This is where the clincher comes in, if these accounts bear the name of the commissioner whether wholly or partly then it should have been declared in his SALN. The way I see it, the names that appear on that account are legally the owners of the money deposited even if only one really owns the actual money. If Commissioner Bautista has his name in ANY of these accounts then he should have accounted it in his SALN. If not, then Andy just committed an impeachable offense.
From my point of view, Commissioner Bautista’s best defense really is by presenting facts to the public rather than their melodramatic love story. He could have easily presented his bank accounts with the Luzon Development Bank and cross-referenced it to his submitted SALN. That way, from the point of accusation, he could have easily flicked off the doubt. But his continuous tugging of “I need to see the documents” is really making me think that these documents may actually be valid. Commissioner Bautista says that he was nominated by the family to be the finance guy so I am pretty sure he knows how many, if not all 32 LDB passbooks, are valid and active, whether his name appears on these accounts, and whether he declared it in his SALN.
The “Maang-maangan School of Arts” approach of Commissioner Bautista no longer appeals to the discerning public, and you can also include in the list the drama of comparing himself to a “rape victim”. It is so lame because at this point he could have already deflected the accusation by presenting his actual SALN, which is a public document. He is at a position where he can already present the truth if he really submitted a truthful government document.
Commissioner Bautista can paint his wife as an adulterer. He can paint her as mentally imbalanced. But that does not disregard the REAL question that Commissioner Bautista needs to answer to the Filipinos – how much is the commissioner’s real net worth and where did these assets really come from?
While Tisha Bautista sat on the hot seat composed and focused on what she believes was the right thing to do, it bothers me when Commissioner Andy said that he is seriously considering on what his next move would be because it would implicate others in the issue. At this point, everyone involved in their marital and political issue have already been divulged to the public.
So… sino pa ba ng pwede ma-involve sa issue na ito, Commissioner?