Solon seeks probe on Bautista’s alleged ill-gotten wealth

MANILA-- A lawmaker at the House of Representatives on Monday filed a resolution asking Congress to conduct an inquiry into the allegations of ill-gotten wealth against Commission on Elections (Comelec) chair Andres Bautista supposedly worth PHP1 billion.

In House Resolution No. 1171, Kabayan Partylist Rep. Harry Roque said an investigation is needed because the allegations made by Patricia Paz Bautista against her husband raises serious questions, if not doubts, on the integrity of Philippine democracy, which Comelec is charged to protect and safeguard.

He said Comelec is now rocked by scandal due to the public revelations of Mrs. Bautista that her husband has amassed unexplained wealth amounting to nearly PHP1 billion, including assets and properties here and abroad.

As detailed in her affidavit to the National Bureau of Investigation, the alleged ill-gotten wealth of her husband that she just recently discovered include:

* 35 Luzon Development Bank (LDB) passbooks with a total balance PHP329,220,962.00;

* A foreign currency account with Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) with USD12,778.30, or around PHP640,959.53 (at PHP 50.16 to the dollar as of August 4);

* An RCBC peso account with PHP257,931.60;

* An HSBC account with HKD 948,358.97, or PHP6.1 million (at PHP6.43 per Hong Kong dollar);

* A condominium unit at One Bonifacio High Street at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig; and

* A condominium unit in The District in San Francisco, California.

Roque said that Mrs. Bautista further alleged that she has documentary proof that Commissioner Bautista received payoffs from the Divina Law Offices.

The solon pointed out that the law firm allegedly served as counsel to Smartmatic, the Venezuelan elections technology provider that supplied the automated election machines used by Comelec since the May 2010 national elections.

He also pointed out that during the conduct of last year's elections, Smartmatic was accused of tampering, through a Venezuelan technician, with the script of the Comelec's transparency server without informing Comelec.

The shocking revelations made by Bautista's wife has raised serious questions about the integrity of the May 2016 elections. An investigation is in order, Roque said.

Source: Philippine News Agency