Palace to Chavit: Submit to due process


Posted at Sep 05 2009 12:56 AM | Updated as of Sep 05 2009 09:21 AM

MANILA - The Office of the President on Friday advised deputy National Security Adviser Luis Singson to "behave" and submit himself to due process after his common-law wife, Rachel 'Che' Tiongson, disclosed on Thursday the physical abuse she suffered at the hands of Singson. 

"Our advise to Singson is to behave accordingly as an upright citizen and submit himself to due process of the law," said Press Secretary Cerge Remonde.

Remonde said he was not aware if President Arroyo's deputy national security adviser used government resources to spy on Tiongson.

Singson is considered one of the most influential politicians in the country. His testimony in the impeachment trial of President Joseph Estrada in 2000 led to the fall of the Estrada administration and the rise to power of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in January 2001. 

Singson virtually admitted on Wednesday over dzMM that he beat up his wife last month after discovering she had an affair, and added she should be thankful he didn't kill her.

In an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN's Ces Oreña Drilon, Tiongson showed pictures of her badly-bruised face and arms allegedly caused by the beatings she suffered at the hands of Singson last August 22 after he found her with her boyfriend in her apartment.

She said Singson beat her up and even lashed her using the whip he uses to discipline his pet tiger.

Singson and his bodyguards also allegedly undressed Tiongson's boyfriend, took pictures of his penis, beat him up, and tortured him.

A Quezon City trial court has granted Tiongson's request for a protection order against Singson, which means he should not go near his wife. 

Remonde said Malacañang's actions on Singson will "depend on the outcome of the case."

On Friday, in an interview over Umagang Kay Ganda (UKG), Singson said he never admitted that he beat up his wife, although he said she did get hurt.

Singson reiterated his earlier statement that Tiongson, the mother of his five children, should be thankful she's alive.

Singson also told UKG he had evidence to prove that he and Tiongson were married and denied Tiongson's claim they are already separated. In an interview with ABS-CBN, Singson showed copies of Tiongson's letters to him that had endearments such as "Hi love" or "miss you."

He said Tiongson's requests for money amounted to almost P1 million.

Singson names Tiongson's boyfriends

Singson also identified Tiongson's lover, whom he only knew by his first name "Richard."

"His wife has a blog. She even gave warnings that her husband was not a bachelor and that they have three kids. Sweet talker, he looks like a gigolo," he said.

He said that aside from Tiongson, Richard has several girlfriends who are also married. "I am planning to talk to his girlfriends who are married. I will talk to the husbands and reveal what he is doing. You think he's your friend but he's stabbing you in the back," he said.

Singson also revealed that Tiongson had a relationship with actor Cogie Domingo before she had an affair with Richard. He said Domingo had just returned to the Philippines after staying in the US.

He said that after getting caught, Tiongson even sent him a text message asking for his forgiveness. "Nagpapasalamat pa rin ako sa iyo at binigyan mo pa rin kami ng pagkakataong mabuhay lalo na sa akin na pangalawa na ito. And again, I'll just let time heal," he said, quoting the text message.

Singson said he has already received a subpoena after Tiongson sued him for violating Republic Act 9262 or the Violence Against Women and Children Act of 2004. The two are scheduled to appear before a local court on September 8.

Still, he said he is already severing his ties with Tiongson. "Again, good luck. Wala na akong pakialam sa iyo," he said.

A psychologist from the Women's Crisis Center, meanwhile, said Tiongson should steel herself for more criticism from Singson.

"She will have a harder time because she will be challenging how society thinks. At the same time, she will also have to endure harsh words from Singson," psychologist Anamabel Garcia said.

In her interview with ABS-CBN, Tiongson revealed that Singson's treatment of her even before the beating made her look down on herself. "I really felt I wasn't a wife anymore. Like I was just a servant. If he gave me money, he would ask for receipts so he would know where the money went. I used to be the wife and then he was just discarding me," he said.

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.

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 exemption only covers those who are legally married.

Tiongson's lover is former ABS-CBN employee

In her affidavit, Tiongson identified her lover as Richard Syquia Cartel. An ABS-CBN employee, however, said the man's real name is Richard Catral.

Catral worked as a marketing officer of ABS-CBN Foundation for five years before resigning last June to go to the US.

Paul Vincent Mercado, Catral's friend and former superior in ABS-CBN, said many people are attracted to Richard because of his looks and kind demeanor. 

"Whenever he sees old people lining up at the audience entrance, he would help them and would find a way to get them inside. If they're hungry or thirsty, he would even buy them food," Mercado, head of ABS-CBN Foundation Creatives and Marketing, said.

He refused to comment on Catral's personal life but admitted that he is slightly worried for his friend. 

"I think he's alive. Nagpapalamig lang yun," he said.