Pandora’s box in Andy’s case

As the nation’s most popular telenovela­—the he-said-she-said row between Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista and his wife Patricia—unfolds before us, there are numerous questions that remain unanswered.

For one thing, it was stupid of Bautista to have passbooks with the unknown Luzon Development Bank locked in a cabinet in an unoccupied condominium unit. LDB is owned by Rene Limcaoco Jr., a former Department of Transportation and Communications undersecretary. Why did he do this?

Another question arises from the behavior of Patricia’s mother, Baby Cruz, who is on the side of her son-in-law. There was an alleged secret meeting between the Comelec chairman and Vice President Leni Robredo in the house of Ms. Cruz. So what was her role here?

There are accusations that Andy was so in love with Smartmatic that he continued to have faith in its automated process despite allegations that its officials manipulated the results of the 2016 elections.

This is exactly why Bautista’s case must be pursued to its logical end. This is more than a marital spat!

If there is a lesson to be learned here, it is the fact that Bautista, as the head of the elections body, should be above suspicion all the time.

And why would he accuse Patricia of robbing their home? A wife cannot commit robbery in the conjugal home. Neither could she extort from Andy because she is just asking for her legal share.

I am not taking sides. This is just my opinion as a lawyer.

As for Andy’s claim of a demolition job against him, I think the burden of proof still lies with him. He should be able to explain his wealth and prove that it is not ill-gotten.

* * *

The Presidential Communications Operations Office under Secretary Martin Andanar has been committing blunders recently. Now Andanar says bloggers and other social media personalities with more than 5,000 followers can cover the President.

Recall that it was Assistant Secretary Margaux Uson who wanted bloggers like herself to be accredited with the Malacañang Press Corp. The MPC turned her down. And now she is with the Palace.

Accrediting bloggers is crazy and ridiculous. Unlike journalists in mainstream media, these bloggers will not be responsible if they peddle fake news or commit libel. By contrast, journalists abide by a professional code of conduct.

What is Andanar thinking?

* * *

There are two critical things that seem to be forgotten in the wake of President Duterte’s bloody war on illegal drugs. First, there is a need for more rehabilitation centers. We also need more city and municipal jails to accommodate all those arrested.

Yes there are existing rehab centers, but these are not enough. What is the administration doing about this?

Detainees in jails suffer not just from congestion but from a meager food budget of P50/day.

There is an approved relocation site for the National Bilibid Prison in Laur, Nueva Ecija. There are three pre-qualified builders for this, but still nothing is being done by the Department of Justice.

* * *

We are now being made aware of the shenanigans at the Bureau of Customs, where a shipment of shabu worth P6.4 billion was allowed through the express lane. The current commissioner, Nicanor Faeldon, was a newcomer—too raw to act decisively on the established practices of the people in that agency.

I find it rather strange that President Duterte would still have trust and confidence in Faeldon despite his blunders. The former mutineer, meanwhile, clings to his position. Other officials would have resigned out of self-respect.

* * *

The self-exiled leader of the Communist Party of the Philippines told media there is a small opening for peace talks with the Duterte administration since the President has not formally canceled the negotiations.

Obviously, they come to the negotiating table with blood on their hands. From the start, I have warned the government not to trust Sison and his cohorts.

Topics: Andres Bautista , Patricia , Luzon Development Bank , Rene Limcaoco Jr. , Vice President Leni Robredo , Baby Cruz , Secretary Martin Andanar , President Duterte’s bloody war on illegal drugs , Bureau of Customs , Communist Party of the Philippines leader , Dutert
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