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opinion / Columnists

The Andy and Tish show

opinion / Columnists
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At Large

The Andy and Tish show

They’re the “couple of the year.” Everywhere one goes in the city, especially in places where matrons and barkadas congregate or when friends and relatives get together, the “Andy and Tish Show” is the topic of conversation.

The breakdown of the relationship between Commission on Elections Chair Andres “Andy” Bautista and Patricia Paz “Tish” Cruz-Bautista makes for interesting reading, indeed. It would be a “good” story in journalistic terms — filled with the mandatory elements of public welfare, human interest, drama, conflict, politics, society shenanigans, and, of course, licit and illicit sex — if not for one important and essential feature: the welfare of the four sons of the Bautista couple, caught between the warring parents.

As Andy Bautista tells it, the marriage had long been on the rocks. Even though they still lived under one roof, and in fact shared a bedroom with their four boys most nights, “there was always a child in between us,” he confesses.

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“We tried everything,” he tells a group of media women. “We went for marriage counseling, took vacations and cruises together, all in the hope of repairing the rift.” As Andy told TV interviewers, they even tried an “open marriage” arrangement, with Tish staying out of the conjugal home for two or three nights a week. Toward the end of last year, says the Comelec chair, they were close to an agreement. “I showed her all the papers, passbooks and documents so she could know how much she was entitled to,” he says, and they were close to signing on the proverbial dotted line until lawyers stepped into the picture.

As he has said publicly before, Andy was in the United States last November when he got a call from the branch manager of the bank where they kept their conjugal funds. The manager informed him that Tish was withdrawing a substantial amount from their joint account. “As soon as I could fly back, I went straight to the condominium and found two security men who told me they were under instructions not to allow me in.” After an exchange of calls, Andy was eventually allowed in and that was when he saw his room “ransacked,” with Tish spiriting away the contents of his locked cabinets.

Those purloined papers have since become the basis for Tish’s charges of corruption and unexplained wealth against her estranged husband. She presumably brought the evidence to Malacañang, conferring with President Duterte. Andy himself was summoned by the President, and was kept waiting for about two hours while, unknown to him, “Tatay” Digong was playing marriage counselor with Tish. The disgruntled wife then hastily called a press conference, airing accusations that Andy had as much as P2 billion, much of which had not been reflected in his statement of assets and liabilities which is, as shown in the case versus the late former chief justice Renato Corona, an impeachable offense.

As this is being written, impeachment complaints have been filed with Congress, and election watchdog NGOs, including Namfrel, have called on the Comelec chair to take leave from his office.

“What do you think I should do?” asks Andy at a  merienda  hosted by his mother-in-law, Baby Cruz Vazquez. Mother and daughter are estranged at this point, triggered by Baby’s insistence that Tish and her business (and amorous) partner, Alvin Lim, vacate the room they were using as an office atop the high-end salon that Baby owns.

“Should I stay on, go on leave, or resign altogether?” Andy asks his guests. He is, as his ashen complexion and shadowed eyes reveal, a man at the end of his rope. But if he resigns, regardless of the possible outcome of any hearing or trial, he would be tainted before the Filipino public — a fate he would share with the 2016 elections.

Andy has always said he preferred to have the case argued in the proper venue — such as a court of law. But at this point, it is next to impossible for the public hungry for sensational news to look away. But for all their sakes — for Andy, Tish and especially their boys — we would do well to let them argue things out before a judge, free from politics and lawyers’ machinations, left to their own devices and their private pain.

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TAGS: Andres Bautista, At Large, Comelec, ill-gotten wealth, Patricia Paz Bautista, Rina Jimenez-David
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