Ungab, Tiu explore settlement after wife’s baseball bat assault
If a public apology is made by the right persons, lawyer Jiecel Tiu said she is willing to back off the case she filed against Pearl Ungab.
Tiu’s lawyer and family spokesman Rex Fernandez said two conditions have to be met.
“Four people have to issue a public apology,” said Fernandez in an interview yesterday.
He was referring to Vice Mayor Jonah John Ungab of Ronda town, his wife Pearl, brother Jonald, and mother Dr. Alma Ungab.
Fernandez said his client is also seeking “restitution for damages incurred.”
Pearl Ungab was the angry wife who attacked Tiu with a baseball bat last Feb. 26 over suspicions of an extra-marital affair between her husband and the lawyer.
“These two conditions are what we are asking for. Once complied, we will drop the charges against Pearl,” said Fernandez in an interview.
According to him, Vice Mayor Ungab went to Tiu’s residence in Minglanilla town, south Cebu last Thursday evening to offer a settlement.
“He (Ungab) offered P500,000 to Jiecel Tiu in an attempt to amicably settle the case. He also expressed his desire to issue a public apology,” Fernandez said.
However, this account of a Thursday meeting and a half-million-peso offer was vehemently denied by Ungab’s lawyer Leilani Villarino when Cebu Daily News reached her last night for comment.
“Inasmuch as Atty. Ungab wants to maintain his silence, I am compelled to issue a statement– just this one time and to settle the record straight regarding this alleged settlement,” said Villarino in a text message to Cebu Daily News.
“Any lawyer would agree with me that the best way to end a controversy is a settlement which is acceptable to all the parties concerned. However, THERE WAS NO SUCH OFFER.”
“I am also appealing to Atty. Jiecel Tiu as a lawyer to another and friend, that she should not allow anybody to twist the facts for her. She herself knows that I know what really happened. I’m sorry that I need to do this but I have no choice since it’s not fair for John who is trying to rise above this.”
Vice Mayor Ungab last night sent word to CDN: “Please refer to Atty. Villarino. She has personal knowledge on that matter. I still maintain my silence.”
Ungab, who also operates a visa assistance agency, has stayed silent ever since the Feb. 26 baseball bat assault.
His main concern, according to friends close to him, is helping his family especially his five young children, deal with the controversy and adverse publicity.
The incident occurred in the parking lot of Centro Maximo where Tiu holds office.
She had worked in Ungab’s law firm for four years before she was forced to leave last year because of what she called the wife’s repeated “harassment”.
The violent incident opened a scandal over allegations of marital infidelity and a wife’s jealousy.
The complaint for frustrated murder filed by Tiu was downgraded to simple physical injuries by the prosecutor’s office and filed in court last March 3.
Tiu’s camp is not keen on the original offer of a settlement
“That is unacceptable and non-negotiable. What we’re asking is for (Vice Mayor) Ungab, his wife, brother, and mother to apologize in public,” Fernandez said.
He said the vice mayor has not yet responded to the conditions set by Tiu’s family who hails from Samar.
“He (Ungab) was the one who came over to offer a settlement. So, here’s our response,” Fernandez said.
Fernandez said that while the damage caused by the incident to the reputation of Tiu was irreparable, they remain open to discussing a settlement with the Ungab family.
“As lawyers, we are open to a settlement. We’re not closing the doors,” he said.
Last Feb. 27, Tiu was about to leave the parking area of Centro Maximo Building in corner Ranudo and Jakosalem Streets in Cebu City when Mrs. Ungab arrived in a four-wheel drive pickup and confronted her.
The wife whacked the lawyer’s car with a 30-inch metal bat then chased the sedan and rammed it from behind.
Tiu, who denied being the paramour of the vice mayor, said she thought it was already her end when Mrs. Ungab smashed the window, opened the door and tried to pull her out of the car while hitting her with the bat.
Tiu sustained deep bruises in her left shoulder, left ear, and knees.
In the wife’s version of events, she had a verbal exchange with Tiu, who fired pepper spray in her face. The wife said she got angry especially after she and her 2-year-old child accompanying her were hit by the lawyer’s car when it moved backwards. That’s when she got the bat and went after Tiu.
Mrs. Ungab, 41, was arrested when she went to the police station to report the encounter. She was later brought to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center after she complained of “spotting” or light bleeding due to pregnancy.
Prosecutor Liceria Lofranco-Rabillas said the wife did not show any intent to kill the lawyer based on the evidence.
The case will be raffled off to a judge on Monday.
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