MANILA - A lawyer of Patricia Bautista, estranged wife of Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andy Bautista, said his client only wants to get what is legally hers since the couple don't have a pre-nuptial agreement.
"She wanted to claim her share. Under sa batas po, since walang pre-nuptial agreement, she owns one-half of everything under the law," Atty. Martin Loon told DZMM, adding that Patricia also wants to free herself from her marriage with Bautista.
Loon also believes the controversy is more than just a domestic issue because of Bautista's position in government.
"It's not just about their personal domestic squabble, it became part of the national interest already," Loon said.
"What's important is the substance of the complaint [of Patricia], of the affidavit, which contains very, very huge amounts not stated in his [Comelec chair's] Statement of Assets and Liabilities. Kung public servant ako at malinis ang pera na 'yan, ide-declare ko po lahat," he added.
Patricia claimed in an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer that she discovered bank and real property documents, and several passbooks under her husband's name that were not included in his 2016 Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth.
'IT'S ALL ABOUT MONEY NOW'
Chairman Bautista, on the other hand, said the allegation that he has nearly P1 billion in undeclared wealth is really rooted in his marital dispute.
Speaking on the same DZMM program, Bautista said he was surprised that Patricia went public with her allegations knowing that it would affect their four children.
"Nagulat ako. Sa totoo lang, hindi ko akalain na gagawin niya 'to kasi 'yun nga, hindi makakabuti sa mga anak namin ito eh. Matagal na kaming may problemang mag-asawa, at well, nasabi ko na rin, siya po ay, well, parang nakahanap na ng iba," he said.
(I was surprised. I didn't expect her to do this, since it will be bad for our children. We have been having problems and it seems like she has already found somebody else.)
Bautista also said they tried to fix their problems for the sake of their children but it seems that Patricia has already made up her mind.
"May mga nag-aabiso sa akin na dapat maghiwalay na, pero sa akin kasing palagay, mas mabuti kung sana maayos pa 'yung aming kasal kasi bata pa 'yung mga anak namin. Kaya sinikap ko po na talagang, kung pwede, ayusin. Nag-marriage counseling po kami, 'yung aming mga magulang, tinutulungan kami. 'Yung aming mga kaibigan pero mukhang desidido na po siya talagang makihiwalay," he explained.
(I was advised to annul our marriage, but I tried to fix it for the sake of our children. I tried hard to fix it, we went to marriage counseling, we talked to our parents and friends, but it seemed that she has already decided to end our marriage.)
The accusation came just days after the couple met with President Duterte, whom the Comelec chief said gave them marital advice.
Bautista said his wife used to say she does not care about money or property, but that this no longer holds true.
"At ang naging sorpresa, dati, sabi niya, ito maraming tetestigo pati po siguro ang kanyang nanay, na wala siya daw pakialam sa aking pera. So tapos biglaan ito na, nung pumasok na po ang mga abogado, parang pera na lang ang naging basehan," he said.
(What was surprising was that she used to say she didn't care about money, but money became the main issue now that the lawyers are involved.)
Bautista reiterated that his wife's allegations were not true, claiming that the whole incident is just an extortion ploy.
"Makikita niyong meron silang istratehiya ng pangingikil at panggigipit. We tried to resolve this matter amicably for the last 10 months and marami pong mga kaibigan ang tumutulong pero palagi po kaming nai-stuck sa pera," he said.