Charie Villa claims Comelec Chair Andres Bautista amassed 'ill-gotten wealth via election rigging'

By Media Newser Philippines | Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Photo: Manila Standard
Former ABS-CBN newser Charie Villa made a bold claim Monday, alleging that last year's election was rigged by embattled Commission on Elections Chair Andres Bautista.

In a post on her Facebook account, Villa claimed that the Comelec chief received commissions from Divina Law, the law firm that represented the Venezuelan voting technology company Smartmatic.

"So what does this make of the national elections in 2016? COMELEC Chief Andy Bautista received commissions from DIVINA Law office — the lawyer of SMARTMATIC?" Villa wrote, adding that its founder and managing partner Nilo Divina, the dean of University of Sto. Tomas Faculty of Civil Law, is also the lawyer of Liberal Party stalwart Mar Roxas.

Villa, who now works as a freelance reporter, said Bautista amassed his "hidden wealth as soon as he sat in government."

In a separate post on Tuesday, Villa denied reports that she was hired to do PR work for Bautista's wife Patricia, saying that "there is no money exchanged between us." She said she had known her from way back after they collaborated on projects for Tao Po, a non-profit group which she spearheaded back when she was still with the Kapamilya Network.

Villa also said that she had known about Mrs. Bautista's shocking revelations as early as February, and studied and looked at the evidences she acquired.

"I was shocked as well. I quietly did some research, but Tisha (Patricia) at that time was not ready to come out," she wrote. "I am currently freelancing as a journalist, choosing which news organizations to work for. If the story hits my heart and conscience, I do it and give it my time and effort."

Dismissing the belief that the allegations against Mr. Bautista were politically motivated, Villa stressed that Mrs. Bautista's decision to come forward is "not connected to any political party, or any business agenda."

"Some of course riding on it, using it to further their political ends. Of course the main subject is a political figure, the head of the commission on elections," she added. "I told Tisha the ripples of throwing a rock. But she was determined, and yes scared. I told her courage is a hard choice, but it will eventually give her freedom."

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