Patricia’s expose vs. Andy may yet amount to nothing PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 10 August 2017 13:46

KAKAMPI MO ANG BATAS

BY Atty. BATAS MAURICIO

LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “…`The man who hates and divorces his wife,’ says the Lord, the God of Israel, `does violence to the one he should protect,’ says the Lord Almighty. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful…” (Malachi 2:16, the Holy Bible).

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PATRICIA’S EXPOSE VS. ANDY MAY YET AMOUNT TO NOTHING: There is an interesting legal issue that may yet nullify the expose or disclosures made by Patricia Tish Bautista against her estranged husband, Chairman Andres Bautista of the Commission on Elections. It is the prohibition against spouses against testifying against each other.

This prohibition is found in Section 22, Rule 130 of the 1989 Amended Revised Rules on Evidence. It is stated this way: “During their marriage, neither the husband nor the wife may testify for or against the other without the consent of the affected spouse, except in a civil case by one against the other, or in a criminal case for a crime committed by one against the other or the latter’s direct descendants or ascendants.”

As is clear from that Section 22, there are two rules there. First is the rule on disqualification of the husband or the wife from testifying for or against each other, without the consent of the affected spouse. The second is the rule on the right of the husband and the wife to testify against each other, but only in a civil case or a criminal case by one against the other.

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COUPLES ARE DISQUALIFIED FROM TESTIFYING AGAINST EACH OTHER: On account of this disqualification, it would appear that Patricia cannot be a witness against Chairman Bautista in any civil or criminal case that would involve graft and corruption, and the possible forfeiture of the billions in cash and assets that he supposedly amassed during the two years he has headed the Commission.

In fact, the prohibition in the Rules of Court would also appear to prevent Patricia from testifying in an impeachment complaint against him, should any such impeachment complaint be filed and/or tried with the House of Representatives and by the Senate.

And, since Patricia’s disclosures about the hundreds of millions of pesos allegedly deposited in banks in the name of her husband apparently come from official bank  documents, the Chairman would clearly be protected by the Bank Secrecy Law. At this point in this scandal, therefore, whoever were behind the media disclosures of Patricia apparently failed to do some serious thinking first before all these were publicly brought out.

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EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULE ON DISQUALIFICATION OF SPOUSES: In the case of Alvarez and Ramirez, G.R. No. 143439, October 14, 2005, the Supreme Court explained what the exception to the rule on disqualification to be a witness consists of. The tribunal ruled that “… like (in) all other general rules, the marital disqualification rule has its own exceptions, both in civil actions between the spouses and in criminal cases for offenses committed by one against the other.

“Like the rule itself, the exceptions are backed by sound reasons which, in the excepted cases, outweigh those in support of the general rule. For instance, where the marital and domestic relations are so strained that there is no more harmony to be preserved nor peace and tranquility which may be disturbed, the reason based upon such harmony and tranquility fails.

“In such a case, identity of interests disappears and the consequent danger of perjury based on that identity is non-existent. Likewise, in such a situation, the security and confidences of private life, which the law aims at protecting, will be nothing but ideals, which through their absence, merely leave a void in the unhappy home…” Let’s see how these rules will affect the case of Patricia versus Andy.

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