And just like Alice in Wonderland, the story of Andy and Tisha Bautista is becoming ‘curiouser and curiouser.’
After opening a billion peso can of worms that has allies of the previous administration scrambling for the nearest rock to scurry under, Tisha’s revelations took a nastier turn for the Liberal Party when it was revealed that the Andy Bautista corruption trail may in fact lead all the way to the late Jesse Robredo.
This came out in the wake of Tisha’s interview with ANC’s Karen Davila when some eagle-eyed viewers spotted the name, “Howard Vitas” on a PCGG pay envelope dating back to the time when Andy was still head of the agency. And with the power of tens of millions of social media detectives on hand, it didn’t take long before it came out that Vitas is actually the husband of Jesse’s niece, Gail Robredo.
Coincidence? Uhm, maybe not. There are indications that Andy and Tisha are more than just passing acquaintances of the Vitas’. During happier times they were often seen together on the society pages of the Philippine Star.
Whether it was standing side-by-side as co-godparents in some high-profile baptism, or just smiling for the cameras while sampling the latest cuisine in a fancy restaurant – it is clear that Howard Vitas is more than just some guy Andy hired to renovate his office.
Then there are the questions on why Andy had the pay envelope of Vitas in his possession in the first place.
Was Andy collecting the money on behalf of Vitas and keeping the envelopes as proof of payment? Proof of what? Was Vitas a ghost employee of the PCGG? Did he know that he was on their payroll? And more importantly, Did Jesse Robredo know about all this?
Like Ninoy and Cory Aquino before him, Robredo has been rhapsodized by the Liberal Party as some sort of modern day political saint. An incorruptible government official who always put the needs of the people before his own. Since his death under mysterious circumstances – some say at the hands of those who now praise him – his stature has only grown.
But in recent months Robredo’s reputation for incorruptibility has been under attack. From allegations of corruption during his time as mayor of Naga City, to links with drug lords and criminal gangs – like the Aquinos – the luster has dimmed.
And now this. To the casual observer it seems like a small link. Trivial. But in the tightly linked Philippine political universe – where everyone is related to someone, and those who aren’t are married to their families – there is no such thing as a trivial connection. There are no coincidences. No accidents. No casual friendships at this level.
So if Robredo’s nephew-in-law was indeed working for Bautista, you can bet the farm that Leni knew about it. There is no way that she didn’t. Which begs the question, how deep does this go? And what will we find if we dig deeper? Time to bring out the back hoe…