‘KUMARE RUINED MY FAMILY’
Vice Mayor’s wife justifies bat rage as act of self-defense
by Ador Vincent S. Mayol
Three days after her controversial face off with a female lawyer whom she suspects of carrying an illicit affair with her husband, Pearl Ungab yesterday broke her silence and aired her side of the story.
“Those who saw the actual confrontation between me and Atty. (Jiecel) Tiu will think I was the villain based on how I reacted. But what they did not see was the incident before that,” she told Cebu Daily News in an interview at her hospital bed yesterday afternoon.
Mrs. Ungab, who is seven weeks pregnant, was placed under hospital arrest and has been confined under guard at the Don Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center since Thursday evening after she purportedly went after 30-year-old Tiu with a baseball bat.
The 41-year-old wife of Vice Mayor Jonah John Ungab of Ronda town, southwest Cebu admitted having smashed the driver’s side window of Tiu’s Toyota Vios sedan, but she denied hitting the lawyer with a baseball bat.
Mrs. Ungab said she went after Tiu not because of jealousy but out of anger after the female lawyer allegedly fired pepper spray on her face as well as attempted to run her and her two-year-old daughter over with the sedan.
“What would be your reaction if your child was purposely bumped by a vehicle? Would you just smile? It’s a mother’s instinct to protect her child. We were supposed to be the victims in this case. How come, I’m the one being detained now?” she said while wiping tears from her eyes.
Mrs. Ungab said she already communicated with her husband through phone and that the latter promised to provide her with the best lawyer in town.
Vice Mayor Ungab, also a lawyer, sent P200,000 cash to his wife for her bail bond.
Prosecutor Liceria Lofranco-Rabillas is expected to release a resolution tomorrow on the frustrated murder complaint filed by Tiu against Mrs. Ungab.
Since Mrs. Ungab waived her right to a preliminary investigation, the charges against her are set to be elevated to the court. The prosecutor, however, has yet to determine whether or not to downgrade the charge to physical injuries.
“He (Vice Mayor Ungab) told me that he will give me the best lawyer. And I think he will be the one who shall defend me because, as far as I know, my husband is the best lawyer in town,” Mrs. Ungab said.
Asked if she has already forgiven her husband, she said “Yes, I love my husband so much. There’s no problem with that.”
“The problem is this Atty. (Jiecel) Tiu. She destroyed our family and put us all to shame. As much as possible, I don’t want to drag my husband in this issue but Atty. Tiu just humiliated him,” she added.
The couple has five children aged 17, 13, 9, 6 and 3. Mrs. Ungab is currently pregnant with their sixth child.
Mrs. Ungab is contemplating on filing counter charges against Tiu as well as seeking her disbarment.
Her family also intends to seek the assistance of the Cebu Provincial Women’s Commission (PWC) to assist her in the case.
“She (Tiu) is my kumare because she’s one of my children’s godmother. But look at what she did?” she said.
Mrs. Ungab yesterday granted Cebu Daily News an interview after she was prodded by one of her lawyers to reveal the whole truth about the incident.
During the interview, she showed the bruises on her left stomach which she allegedly sustained after Tiu tried to run her over. Her eyes had been treated after it was irritated by the pepper spray.
Mrs. Ungab’s condition as well as that of her offspring have been monitored by doctors.
Her parents are currently in the United States.
Accompanying her at the hospital yesterday were her brother-in-law Jonald Ungab, mother-in-law Dr. Alma Ungab, father-in-law Dr. Eugenio Ungab, her five children, nieces and nephews.
Past 5 p.m. last Thursday, Mrs. Ungab said she was driving a black Nissan Navara on her way to fetch her children from a school in Cebu City when she dropped by Centro Maximo Bldg. along Jakosalem St. to meet a friend when she saw Tiu.
Mrs. Ungab was accompanied by her two-year-old daughter, a nanny and a househelp.
“Our meeting (with Tiu) was actually coincidental,” she said.
Mrs. Ungab said she wanted to “peacefully” talk to Tiu who was rumored to have an affair with her husband.
“When I saw her (Tiu), I called her and asked if we could talk for a while. But she declined. She told me, ‘Wala na ta angayan nga istoryahan. Unsa pa man ang imong gustong istoryahan nga bungkag naman ang imong pamilya?’ (There’s nothing we ought to talk about. What for? Your family is already ruined),’” the wife related.
Mrs. Ungab said Tiu berated and insulted her, prompting her to confront the female lawyer. She said Tiu suddenly aimed a pepper spray in her direction and discharged it at her face.
“It was so painful so I decided to run away from her (Tiu). While moving away from her, she moved her vehicle backwards, hitting me and my two-year-old daughter who was waiting for me outside,” she said.
Tiu, she said, immediately fled on board her car.
Furious with what happened, Mrs. Ungab said she went after Tiu until she found the lawyer’s vehicle along Echavez Extension in barangay Cogon Ramos, Cebu City.
“I got down from my vehicle and approached Tiu. But she again sprayed pepper on my face. I told myself, ‘Dili na ni mahimo (This will not do).’ I went back to my car and our househelp handed over to me the baseball bat. I decided to use it since I didn’t have anything to defend myself with that time,” she said.
“I was so mad that I smashed the driver’s side window of her vehicle. I never hit her. I do not know how she sustained the bruises she showed you,” she added.
Mrs. Ungab said Tiu disembarked from her vehicle and grabbed the bag which her househelp brought.
“She even accused me of bringing a gun,” she said.
Mrs. Ungab said that if she had any intention of killing Tiu, she would not have brought along her two-year-old daughter with her.
Mrs. Ungab said she decided to report the incident to the Fuente Police Station while her mother-in-law took her two-year-old daughter to the hospital for treatment after the latter was bumped by Tiu’s vehicle.
She stayed at the police station before Tiu and two other lawyers arrived.
“I was surprised because the police entertained their complaint ahead of mine. Worst, I was put behind bars based on their complaint against me,” Mrs. Ungab said.
She said she was physically harassed at the police station as PO3 Cliffton Manogura, the desk officer, allegedly forced her into the detention cell.
Manogura allegedly told her that it was the order of Police Station 2 Chief Wildemar Tiu to put her in prison.
“This Manogura told me, ‘We have to detain you because it’s our chief’s order. Ang among hepe walay gi-ila, bisan babaye sumbagon ana,” Mrs, Tiu said.
“I got so afraid that I went straight to the detention cell. I felt so weak. Imagine, I might get punched if I don’t go inside the jail. I felt so betrayed. I went to the police station to lodge a complaint but I ended in jail,” she added.
Mrs. Ungab said it also took about two hours before he was brought to the hospital for medical examination—standard protocol once a person is detained.
The doctor who checked on Mrs. Ungab recommended that she be placed under hospital confinement after she was found to be spotting signifying possible complications with her pregnancy.
“She (Tiu) was saying that I attacked her out of jealousy. Asa man ko dapita angay ma-jealous niya? What happened last Thursday had nothing to do with jealousy. It was about a mother trying to protect her two-year-old child and the child within her,” she said.
In an interview last Friday, Tiu denied having an illicit affair with Ungab. She said she used to work at the Ungab, Gealon and Associates for four years before she decided to voluntarily leave to pacify Ungab’s, wife Pearl.
“I belonged to the same law firm with Atty. John Ungab since 2011 but I decided to leave last year because his wife kept on following me. She has been fabricating stories and evidence against me although she never caught me having an affair with her husband because that is really not the case,” she said.
Asked if she had an extra-marital affair with Ungab, Tiu said “never.”
Vice Mayor Ungab, in an FB message sent to CDN, said: “As much as possible, I want to hold my silence to prevent further damage this issue may bring to all parties especially to my children.”
Vice Mayor Ungab’s elder brother Jonald advised his brother to stay away from Tiu.
“If indeed they really have a relationship, I believe my brother was tempted by this Atty. Tiu. We were trying to protect the image of my brother but what did Atty. Tiu do? She didn’t even care about protecting my brother,” he said.
“We don’t believe that Mrs. Ungab attacked Atty. Tiu out of jealousy. If that’s the case, we, her in-laws, should not have been by her side,” he added.
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