MANILA, Philippines – The estranged wife of Andres Bautista who is accusing the Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman of amassing about P1 billion in alleged ill-gotten wealth is near to becoming a state witness.
On Friday, August 18, the Department of Justice (DOJ) placed Patricia “Tisha” Cruz-Bautista under the government’s provisional coverage as state witness when she went to the agency’s central office in Manila to submit a supplemental affidavit against her husband.
DOJ Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said Patricia would be granted full Witness Protection Program (WPP) coverage after she submits the required documents and signs a memorandum of agreement with the department.
“We wish to stress that before being provided with actual protection, security and/or benefit under the WPP, Miss Cruz-Bautista must execute a memorandum of agreement,” he said.
Once admitted into the WPP, Patricia will receive assistance from the department that includes the following: security protection and escort services; immunity from criminal prosecution; housing facility, assistance in obtaining a means of livelihood; traveling expenses and subsistence allowance while acting as a witness; and free medical treatment, hospitalization and medicine for any injury or illness incurred or suffered while acting as a witness.
Aguirre said no one forced Patricia to seek help from the DOJ. “Miss Cruz-Bautista came to the DOJ freely and voluntarily, with her lawyers, to seek her admission to the WPP.”
The wife of the poll chief has been receiving death threats since she disclosed the alleged corrupt activities of her husband, according to the DOJ chief.
Patricia told reporters that she didn’t have any regrets in publicly disclosing what she knew about the Comelec chief but admitted that she is now going through a sticky patch.
“It has not been easy but I have received a lot of support and kindness and I can’t be more grateful. As of all things we have to rise to the occasion and be strong,” she said.
“Many things happened that I wasn’t prepared for and I don’t think anybody can be prepared for, but it is what it is…I’m doing my job as, I guess, a Filipino citizen,” added Mrs. Bautista.
Patricia also denied her husband’s claim that their children were being bullied in school.
“My kids go to school, they are very supportive. They are not being bullied. Although (they are in) a difficult situation, they are not being bullied,” she said.
In an earlier media interview, the poll chief broke down in tears and said that “my kids don’t go to school anymore” and “they’re being bullied.”
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