Gov apologizes but wife’s lawyer not impressed
In near tears, in a slightly shaky voice, and begging for forgiveness, Camarines Norte Gov. Edgardo “Egay” Tallado made his act of self-abasement in a speech at the provincial capitol after the raising of the flag.
The only character not present in the public drama was Tallado’s wife, Josie—she had accused her husband of having an affair with another woman for two years and said she even saw a sex video of the two on his cell phone.
Tallado came to rue after photographs of him and a naked woman surfaced and made the rounds of the social network over the weekend.
Dressed in a white shirt, Tallado, 51, held back tears as he also asked for forgiveness from the family of the 24-year-old woman who was suspected to be his “mistress.”
The photos surfaced after his wife, Josefina “Josie” Tallado, 45, was interviewed on television on Oct. 22 where she revealed her reason for leaving their home in Labo, Camarines Norte province.
Why she fled
During the interview, Josie claimed the governor had been having an affair with the woman for two years and that she saw the sex video on his phone in the first week of September.
When a nude photo of the mistress was uploaded on Facebook, the governor accused her of being behind it, Josie said.
She said she ran away in fear of her husband after she saw him very angry for the first time in the 28 years they had been married.
“I am here to ask for your understanding as well as your forgiveness for my family problem that has affected Camarines Norte,” Tallado said in Filipino to government employees in the lobby of the provincial capitol.
He neither denied nor admitted if he was the man shown in the social networking site hugging and kissing the young woman. But he said he had “committed an offense”against his family.
He said he and his wife, who was still in Metro Manila, had yet to settle their differences.
“If my wife is listening at this moment, I am asking for her forgiveness,”he said.
Time and privacy
Tallado said he had spoken to their son Alvin in an effort to get through to his wife.
“My family is important to me,” he said. “I will always choose to rebuild my family, which is why I chose to be silent during the past days.”
He asked that he be given the time and privacy to repair the damage to his family, which he said should not be an issue against his leadership as provincial governor.
“I ask of you to see my family’s plight as an issue different from my career as governor. It has already eclipsed the good news and developments in Camarines Norte. We have a lot of projects for the benefit of our constituents,” he said.
Straight in the eye
“To my political opponents, please stop spreading those photos you have posted on Facebook and the Internet,” he said.
Tallado also said he could look his opponents straight in the eye to tell them he had not stolen from the provincial treasury.
Provincial employees, some of them in tears, were moved by his words.
An employee who refused to be named said she believed the governor’s decision to ask for forgiveness was enough for her and the others to stand by him.
On Oct. 20, Tallado aired his concern over the disappearance of his wife and a friend of hers after she drove her Toyota Fortuner to her friend’s house in Vinzons town.
The sport utility vehicle was found abandoned in Lupi town, 40 kilometers from Vinzons.
When she surfaced on Oct. 22, Josie was accompanied by lawyer Lorna Kapunan and her friend.
Kapunan said Josie had secured a 15-day barangay (village) protection order (BPO) in Quezon City and would seek court protection.
A BPO is a relief provided for under the Anti-Violence against Women and Their Children Act aimed at “preventing further acts of violence against a woman or her child.”
Cell phones, laptop taken
Kapunan welcomed Tallado’s expression of apology but noted that the apology—as she heard it—was directed more to his constituents and not his wife.
“How can she react?” Kapunan said on the phone.
Kapunan made it clear that Josie had nothing to do with the circulation of photos of the governor and his supposed mistress in a Facebook account under the name of his wife.
She said that in the first place Josie’s three cell phones and a laptop had been taken from her by the governor’s staff members.
“And why would she do that? … This would not be good for the family and the grandchildren,” Kapunan added.
Kapunan said she had posted in her own Facebook account an “important notice” making it clear that the Facebook account under her client’s name, which circulated the photos, did not belong to her and she did not know who created it.
In her Facebook page, Kapunan said the account with the name “Josie Tallado” was “created without (the) knowledge and consent” of her client and that somebody had stolen her identity.
The act of stealing her client’s identity was a “clear act” of identity theft punishable under the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, but what was “worse’’ was that Facebook account used her client’s name to upload “immoral and offensive photos.”
“We have requested the National Bureau of Investigation to trace the creator of the account,” Kapunan said.
Who created account?
“Our client does not know the creator of the account and does not have any involvement in the creation of the account and the uploading of the photos,” Kapunan said.
She warned that those who would post, repost or share these photos could be liable under the Anti-Photo and Voyeurism Act of 2009.
Kapunan urged those with information that could help trace the creator of the account or any other account that had posted the photos to contact her or the NBI.
Kapunan told the Inquirer that this Facebook account which carried the photos was opened on Friday, a day after her client and the governor reached an agreement to settle “what they have to settle.”
With the help of Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, Kapunan said she was able to arrange a meeting between the governor and his wife. The two were in separate rooms but in the same building when they agreed to settle things, Kapunan said.
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