Francisco Ortigas III ‘trying to find peace’
Francisco “Paqui” Ortigas III, the country’s former ambassador to Mexico, would neither confirm nor deny the concubinage and sexual perversion-related allegations made by his wife, Susana Madrigal Bayot-Ortigas, against him.
The 65-year-old Ortigas, however, said he was “way above all this,” referring to the controversy, and that he was “trying to find peace” with himself and his loved ones.
Asked if he was considering reconciling with his wife, Ortigas said “she has already walked out of our house (in North Greenhills, San Juan City).”
But he claimed other family members “have been very supportive.”
He noted that “like many Filipinos, my religion and close family ties” were helping him deal with his personal crisis.
Ortigas, who was Manila’s envoy to Mexico City from the middle of 2008 to late 2010, initially considered answering his wife’s charges.
But he was later prevailed upon by his “team of lawyers and advisers” not to comment on the case filed against him last month in the Pasig City prosecutor’s office.
Page 1 story
Last weekend, Ortigas told this reporter he would issue shortly a statement in reaction to the article on the scandal that appeared on Page 1 of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on January 8.
He later asked for more time, saying he was waiting for the recommendation from his team of lawyers “if it’s timely or necessary to answer, or if there’s any reply to the newspaper article that needs to be done.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Ortigas called up to say he had been advised by his lawyers not to issue any statement or make any further comment on the issue.
Susana, 63, sued her husband for concubinage after he allegedly took her best friend, Ma. Antonia Legarda, as his mistress and cohabited with her in a Valle Verde, Pasig City, townhouse owned by the spouses.
Susana also accused her husband of having a string of extramarital affairs during their four decadelong marriage, including having sex with one of their household helpers in their own marital bed.
In a December 16 complaint-affidavit, Susana said “the painful truth is that I married an abuser, a scrooge, an incorrigible philanderer and worse, a pervert.”
Years of verbal abuse
“Our marriage, contrary to how it is perceived in high society, has been marked by years of intimidation, harassment, repeatedly psychological and verbal abuse, all courtesy of my husband, respondent Paqui (Ortigas’ nickname),” she said.
Susana named both her husband and Legarda as corespondents in the criminal case (Department of Justice’s National Prosecution Service Docket No. 03291).
Both respondents, she said, live at the same address—Unit 8-F Luntala, Valle Verde IV-A, Ortigas Avenue, Pasig City.
Susana said the respondents’ alleged acts “were not only immoral and by law a violation of the marital vows that Paqui and I took. They are also unlawful, horrendous and demeaning, and for which there must be adequate recompense under the law.”
In the complaint, she narrated how she invited Legarda—her best friend before she discovered the affair—to live in their conjugal home in North Greenhills, San Juan, after the latter suffered financial difficulties.
When Ortigas was appointed ambassador to Mexico, Susana even decided to bring Legarda along to act as her husband’s assistant because of her command of the Spanish language.
However, one of their household staffers in Mexico later testified in a sworn statement that Susana had caught her husband and Legarda having sex in June 2009 when she entered the latter’s bedroom to clean it.
Susana also described how she discovered her husband’s first affair, which he allegedly had with their helper of 20 years, Wilma Balingasa, whom she described as an “old maid.”
“Paqui made Wilma his sex slave and engaged in perverted acts right in our conjugal home, in the master bedroom and worst of all, in the marital bed,” she said.
Susana “found out about this disgusting affair between my husband and our maid sometime in 2003, and that was the reason why I dismissed Wilma in April 2003.”
“About six months from the time I dismissed Wilma, I had a nagging suspicion that the affair was not yet over. Hence, one time, along with my driver, I followed my husband from the house. Paqui ended up checking in at the Victoria Court motel on Adriatico Street, Malate, Manila. Considering his stature, he did not even mind to check in a hotel. I saw that it was Wilma who alighted from my husband’s car,” she recalled.
But Balingasa “was not the only member of our household whom Paqui took advantage of,” Susana said.
She said her husband had “also subjected to his perverted acts my executive assistant and personal secretary, Cielo, who used to live in our house.”
In an affidavit, Cielo said: “When I reached the bedroom, Mr. Ortigas stripped down to his underwear, flexed his muscles and with a smug look asked me, ‘What do you think?’ referring to his naked glory.”
“There were also times when Mr. Ortigas would invite me to look at pornographic photos and videos as if expecting me to be turned on by such indecency,” Cielo added.
Susana said, “apparently, my husband is also an exhibitionist and a porn enthusiast.”
She also disclosed that her husband’s “illicit affair with Janet Tapel, one of the employees of Concrete Aggregates Corp., a sister company of Ortigas & Co. Limited Partnership, had the most devastating consequence.”
Susana was referring to the death of her only son, Paco, in a jet ski accident in 2002.
“At the height of my husband’s affair with Janet in the early months of 2002, my son Paco apparently knew about it… I was told that Paco knew that his father would bring Janet to our beach house in Calatagan (Batangas) which Paco frequented, and about condoms used by Paqui which were found by our maids at the said beach house. I was later informed that Paco confronted my husband about it but instead of remorse, he asked Paco to leave our house in Greenhills,” Susana said.
She said that “after that father and son confrontation, Paco dabbled in drugs. Paqui, instead of showing understanding, confronted Paco. His words to my late son were, ‘Your family name is not yours. You just borrowed that from your grandfather. So don’t dirty it.’
“That must have been very hurtful to my late son, knowing that my husband himself was the first to spit on his father’s name with his scandalous and perverted affairs with women, including our maid,” she said.
On the day Paco died, Susana said her husband, Tapel and another female companion arrived at the family’s Calatagan beach house.
“It was only after I had known that the woman with my husband was his mistress that I was able to understand why my son Paco, on that day, was visibly shaken, upset and in a fit of anger when he set off on his jet ski where he had an accident and met his untimely death,” Susana said.
She said the death of her only son left her broken because, according to her, she had failed to protect him.
“It took me years to recover from my son’s death. I thought that his passing and the circumstances under which it happened would have served as an awakening for Paqui.
Stakeout at motel
“It did not. Apparently, his affair with Janet continued, which only shows the callousness of my husband… Sometime in 2004, I asked one of my sons-in-law to accompany me to tail Paqui. Like with Wilma, Paqui checked in at a motel, the Victoria Court in Pasig City. He was indeed with Janet. Together with my son-in-law, I waited for hours until Paqui exited from the motel. When they exited, I pulled Janet out of the car and in my rage berated her for sleeping with my husband,” Susana said.
While her husband “projects an image of wealth, traveling in style using only first-class airline seats, staying in first-class hotels, driving luxury cars and going around using a helicopter,” Susana said “he made me pay for it.”
“In the 43 years that we were married, Paqui did not want to spend for our family or even on himself. I was the one who paid for practically all of the family and household expenses, everything from groceries, utilities, salaries of all household staff, all our local and international travels, shopping, education of all our children, their allowances, even purchases and maintenance of real and personal properties were all shouldered or paid for by me,” she said.
Her husband “even had a rule that anything above P30,000 should be paid by me. Respondent Paqui is afflicted with the worst form of kuripotitis [stinginess]. At the very least, what he did to me (was) a (kind) of economic abuse,” Susana added.
Paqui Ortigas is a scion of the Ortigas clan which owns Ortigas & Co., developer and owner of Greenhills Shopping Center in San Juan City, a high-end residential condominium project in Mandaluyong City, much of the Ortigas central business district and large tracts of land to the east of Metro Manila.
Susana, on the other hand, is a member of the prominent Madrigal clan which owns huge landholdings to the south of Metro Manila, including the Madrigal Business Park in Muntinlupa City.
At one point, the posh Ayala Alabang Village was part of the Madrigal estate.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.