Ex-Poll Chief Bautista Not Off the Hook Yet as Senate Prepares Hearing on Alleged Wealth

Senator Francis Escudero, chairman of the Senate committee on banks, said the body would request Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III to issue the subpoena to former Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista, who, he said, did not even give a reason why he could not attend the hearing.

“Until chairman Bautista appears and clarifies, and they have said on national TV with much braggadocio that they will appear and defend themselves, I hope they will heed their own words that he made a couple of weeks ago,”  Escudero said during the inquiry.

“We will be requesting the Senate President to issue subpoena to chair Bautista given the fact that he did not even give us a reason for his absence in this morning’s hearing,” he added.

“I’d rather wait for the subpoena to be served on chair Bautista unless he voluntarily attends. And, hopefully, he will make true to his word to so execute a waiver and to allow full investigation and inquiry to proceed,” Senator Francis Escudero said during a Senate hearing on Wednesday.

Escudero said the committee would also invite Bautista’s brother, Martin, to attend the next hearing set in January 2018.

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Bautista announced his resignation last August but only stepped down from his post in October.

Under investigation are accounts of Bautista and his family in Luzon Development Bank, which supposedly amount to 70 percent of the total assets of the bank.

The Senate is now waiting for Bautista and his co-depositors to sign a bank secrecy waiver that opens the accounts to scrutiny.

“How can it be fully investigated when he does not secure the waiver of his co-depositors? Since they entrusted him what that money, I would presume they would entrust him, too, when he signs a waiver for them to follow suit and sign a waiver as well,” Escudero said.

In the same hearing, Escudero asked lawyer Lorna Kapunan—the legal counsel of Patricia Bautista—to help locate the former COMELEC chairman and find out where he now lives after failing to attend the Senate proceedings.

The Senate panel sent invitations to three known addresses of Andres Bautista, but only one was received, Escudero noted.



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