NBI to probe Comelec chair after wife's exposé

Ausiliatrice Cristiano
Agosto 7, 2017

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II signed on Monday, August 7, the Department Order authorizing the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate the claims of Patricia Paz "Tish" Bautista that her husband, Commission on Election (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista may have almost P1 billion in unexplained wealth.

SENATE Majority Leader Vicente Sotto 3rd asked the Senate committee on the accountability of public officers and investigation (blue ribbon) to look into the alleged misdeclaration committed by Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista in his statement of assets liabilities and net worth (SALN).

"The NBI may conduct any investigation of any government official, regardless of whether they are impeachable or not. You could use the investigation to support the impeachment charges", Aguirre explained.

The order signed by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has further directed the NBI to determine if Bautista violated the "anti-money laundering law and such other related laws".

Published reports stated that Mrs. Bautista met with the President and executed an affidavit which was forwarded to the NBI.

Patricia said she submitted her sworn affidavit to the NBI on August 1.

In 2016, Bautista's SALN reported a net worth of P176.3 million, but in the affidavit executed by Patricia, she said her husband's net worth could reach almost a billion, allegedly through his "misleading and corrupt practices while in government service".

In a 10-page affidavit, Bautista's wife said his 2016 SALN only declared P176.3 million worth of personal and real properties.

Sotto said that under the Constitution, "public officials and employees have an obligation to accomplish and submit declarations under oath of, and the public has the right to know, their assets, liabilities, net worth and financial and business interests". "It is an allegation of corruption of epic proportions that definitely concerns public interest given the sensitive position in our democratic setup Chairman Bautista occupies.", Sotto added.

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