MANILA, Philippines – Patricia Bautista and her children have been accepted into the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) witness protection program (WPP); this was confirmed by Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre on Friday.
In a press conference, Aguirre said the Comelec chairperson’s estranged wife and their four children are now given provisional coverage under the WPP; days after submitting affidavits to the National Bureau of Investigation wherein she accused her husband of amassing more than P1-B in ill-gotten wealth.
“The provisional admission of Ms. Cruz-Bautista into the WPP was made in consideration of her safety and security as a potential witness,” Aguirre said.
This means Patricia and her children are entitled to certain privileges which include staying in a safe house, monthly allowance, security protection, hospitalization and medicines, among others.
But Aguirre clarified that her status with WPP is only provisional as further evaluation is needed to determine if she can be given full coverage.
“We wish to stress that before being provided with actual protection, security and/or benefit under the WPP, Ms. Cruz-Bautista must execute a Memorandum of Agreement. Ms. Cruz-Bautista came to the DOJ freely and voluntarily, with her lawyers, to seek her admission to the WPP,” the official explained.
Aguirre has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to conduct an investigation into Patricia’s allegation; the result of which may be used to remove Andres Bautista from his post as chairperson of the Comelec.