Can the Bautistas sue each other? Lawyer explains

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 09 2017 02:34 AM

Commission on Elections Chairman Andy Bautista and his estranged wife, Patricia, can file charges against each other, despite their marriage, according to a remedial law expert. 

Speaking to DZMM, Atty. Tranquil Salvador III said rules on marital disqualification and marital privilege usually would not allow spouses to testify against each other.

"Kung may pre-existing marriage o kasal pa kayo, hindi pupwedeng pilitin mag-testify laban sa iyong asawa maliban na lamang kung winaive nung asawa," Salvador said.

However, there may be an exemption if the relationship between the spouses is strained.

"The state recognizes the union of the husband and the wife, pero kung talagang strained na ang relationship, ay hindi mo pwedeng i-invoke ang disqualification. 'Yun ang exemption. Pero ang general rule, 'pag may asawa kayo, hindi pupwedeng i-compel," Salvador said.

In the case of the Bautistas, whose marriage has been on the rocks since 2013, Salvador said there is no law that will prohibit them from filing charges against each other.

"Pupwede po 'yan kasi ang exception doon sa pagtestify nila if there is a suit of one spouse against the other. Kung nagdemandahan sila, they could testify against the other," he said.

"Puwede ho silang magsampahan ng kaso sa kanilang dalawa and they could testify against the other because that's a suit of one spouse against the other," Salvador added.

Salvador also said that since the Bautistas have yet to file charges against each other, what Patricia revealed can be used by the government to file charges against Bautista.

"Hindi po natin dito pinag-uusapan ang testimonya. Lumalabas dito, away ng isang asawa sa kabila. Ngayon ang nangyayari po dito, the information she shares to the public is now open to the public. It appears not to confidential so now the agencies of the government can now start their own investigation," he said.

Patricia earlier claimed 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 (SALN).

Bautista denied his wife's claim, accusing her of attempting to extort money from him and having an affair. 

He also said he is ready to face an impeachment complaint after he was accused of hiding P1 billion in assets.