MANILA - Rachel “Che” Tiongson, wife of Luis 'Chavit' Singson, on Thursday showed the physical abuse she suffered at the hands of President Arroyo's deputy National Security Adviser.
In an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN's Ces Oreña Drilon, Tiongson said she thought she would not be able to survive the physical beating allegedly committed by Singson after he saw her having dinner with her boyfriend last month.
“Parang gusto na akong patayin. Kasi may baril din siya tapos nilalabas din niya eh... sabi ko, naku ang huli nito parang [ba]barilin na lang ako,” Tiongson said.
Tiongson said the former Ilocos Sur governor even beat her with a whip during the incident. She showed ABS-CBN photos of her badly-bruised face and arms.
She said the 68-year old Singson barged into her rented apartment while she was having dinner with her boyfriend on August 22.
“Biglang may pumasok…na-shock talaga ako. Tapos biglang nilapitan niya kaagad ako, may dala-dala siyang parang latigo ba yon? Bigla na lang niya akong hinampas sa ulo,” she narrated.
She also said that her boyfriend was forcibly undressed, beaten up, and tortured by Singson's bodyguards.
Tiongson said she escaped further beating by climbing over her apartment’s balcony and jumping into her neighbor’s house.
She was later taken by a friend to a nearby hospital for treatment of her wounds.
The incident prompted her to press charges against Singson.
A Quezon City court has already issued a temporary protection order and a subpoena against the former Ilocos Sur governor.
Nothing wrong with relationship
Rachel Tiongson interviewed September 3 on the alleged August 22, 2009 mauling by former Ilocos Sur governor Luis 'Chavit' Singson
Tiongson said she finds nothing wrong with having a boyfriend because she and Singson already separated in November last year.
“Ang akin kasi, bakit ko naman sasabihin sa kanya [na may boyfriend ako] kung wala na kami…Naging discreet naman ako. Hindi naman kami lantaran,” she said.
She said she broke off with Singson because of his relationships with other women, some as young as their teenage children.
“Akala ko talaga na ako lang ang babae sa buhay niya. ‘Yung mga ilang years na nagsasama kami, may mga lumabas na kasing edad ng anak ko na may anak rin. Naitago niya ng hindi ko alam,” she said.
Tiongson said she first met Singson at the age of 18 when she was just a college student in Manila.
She said she fell in love with the politician and they lived together for 17 years.
“Bata pa kasi ako nung nakilala ko siya…niligawan naman niya ako, hindi naman niya ako.. nagustuhan ko rin naman siya. Kasi pinakita naman niya sa akin that time na gentleman naman siya, generous, t’saka thoughtful,” she said.
Tiongson, however, said everything changed when Singson began womanizing.
Chavit ready to face charges
Singson, meanwhile, defended himself from the allegations that he beat up Tiongson and her boyfriend.
He insisted that he caught Tiongson, with whom he has five children, several times with other men.
Deputy National Security Adviser Luis 'Chavit' Singson disputes allegations of Rachel Tiongson in interview September 3, 2009
"In short, nahuli ko na naman dun sa mismong apartment namin...abugado ko na lang magsasabi kung ano ginawa ko sa kanila pero mabuti na lang at di ko pinatay,” he said.
"Sabi ko, mabuti [pang mag-]punta tayo sa presinto para makita ng media at pulis. Sabi ng babae, ‘huwag na huwag na’. ‘Yung lalake, sabi tanggap daw ang naging parusa niya,” he added.
Aside from facing raps in court, Singson said he is also willing to face feminist groups to explain his actions.
"I will talk to them personally... para hindi nila tulungan yung nanloloko. Kung walang rason, dapat parusahan nila ako pero huwag sana nilang protektahan ang mga babaeng nanloloko lang,” said Singson.
However, for Gabriela party-list Rep. Liza Maza, Singson’s actions against Tiongson are unjustifiable.
“Barbaric yung thinking na ganun. Kung lalake ang nagtaksil naman, ganun din... ‘di pwedeng saktan ng mga babae ang mga lalake,” she said.
20 years in prison
Family law expert Katrina Legarda, meanwhile, said Tiongson has a strong case against Singson if she will use Republic Act 9262 or the Violence Against Women and Children Act of 2004.
She said Tiongson has to choose whether to file a complaint of physical injury, attempted homicide or attempted murder. If found guilty, Singson could face up to 20 years in jail for attempted homicide or attempted murder.
Rachel Tiongson and Luis 'Chavit' Singson in better times
Legarda also said Singson cannot use Article 247 of the Revised Penal Code to defend himself from assault charges.
According to Article 247, “any legally married person who having suprised his spouse in the act of committing sexual intercourse with another person, shall kill any of them or shall inflict upon them any serious physical injury, shall be exempt from punishment.”
Legarda said the said the exemption only covers those who are legally married.
Tiongson said she and Singson were only living together.
Singson: We're not separated
In an ABS-CBN interview with Singson aired over Bandila, Singson said he has evidence to prove that he is legally married to Tiongson.
"Kung nakikinig siya, lahat ng sinabi niyang kasinungalingan, kakainin niya lahat iyan dahil may ebidensya ako na hindi kami hiwalay," he said.
"Siya mismo ang naghahabol sa akin. Siya ang humihingi ng pera araw-araw, ng reimbursement. Araw-araw may note sa akin, may 'I love you, I love you' pa. So hindi totoo ang sinasabi niya na hiwalay kami," Singson added.
If she insists on her claim that they are separated, Singson said he would accept it.
"Ok lang hiwalay kami. Good riddance! Pinaalis ko na noon eh. Siya ang bumalik-balik."
Singson said it was up to the court to decide on the complaints filed against him.
"Iyong nanakit, nasaktan sila. Iyon ang sinabi ko, di ko alam kung sino. Bahala na ang korte diyan," he said. With a report from Ces Oreña-Drilon and Jeff Canoy, ABS-CBN News