Divina 'not worried' about disbarment, says he has always complied with the law, professional ethics
MANILA (UPDATE) - The estranged wife of Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista on Tuesday sought the disbarment of University of Santo Tomas (UST) Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina for allegedly giving payoffs to the poll chief.
Bautista's wife, Patricia, earlier claimed that Divina had issued payslips and checks to her husband for allegedly referring clients to the dean's law firm, DivinaLaw.
She cited an alleged "commission sheet" dated January 2016 that bears the names of lawyers from Divina's law firm, which counts among its clients Smartmatic, Comelec's contractor in the automated elections.
Mrs. Bautista has also claimed that her husband had undeclared assets amounting to P1 billion.
Tagged in her disbarment complaint were 20 other lawyers from DivinaLaw.
"We have documents to show that not only did he (Comelec chair Andres Bautista) receive them; he received them close to the  elections. We also have canceled checks paid by DivinaLaw Offices not only to Chairman Bautista but to his sister Susan and to the mother and the father," Lorna Kapunan, Patricia's lawyer, told reporters.
"These are not mere allegations; the documents will speak for themselves," Kapunan added.
In a statement, Divina said he is not worried about the disbarment complaint, saying Patricia may just be "sour" over the junking of the ouster bid against the poll chief.
"I have always acted in accordance with law and the ethical demands of the law profession. I am not worried at all about any threat of disbarment. I have not read the complaint. We will respond accordingly," he said.
"They are probably sour that their impeachment complaint against Chairman Bautista was dismissed," he added.
The impeachment complaint was based on Patricia's allegations of hidden wealth against her husband, among others.
Divina had previously denied giving payoffs to Bautista.
"I assure you that I have not been involved in any illegal or unethical activity and all my dealings are fair and above-board," he said in a statement posted on the UST Civil Law student council's Facebook page last August.
The poll chief also earlier dismissed his wife's allegations, saying checks from Divina were payment for properties that the lawyer had bought from the Bautistas.
"I can categorically tell you I have not received any single centavo from Smartmatic or from Atty. Divina in respect to Smartmatic," Bautista said.
--With reports from Johnson Manabat and Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News