Senate hearing 'no-show'? I wasn't invited, says Bautista

MANILA, Philippines – Resigned Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Andres Bautista said on Friday, December 8, that he was not aware of the scheduled hearing of the Senate into his alleged hidden wealth.

“I was only made aware of the hearing while I was browsing through the news online. Prior to this, I had not received any notice to such effect,” Bautista said in a statement.

“Therefore to say that I refused to attend the hearing or that I am in hiding is untrue,” Bautista added.

The Senate banks and financial institutions committee started its investigation on December 6, but Bautista was note present. His estranged wife, Patricia Bautista, was represented by lawyer Lorna Kapunan.

“To clarify, I was not aware of the scheduled hearings as I never received any invitation for the purpose of aiding the committee as one of its resource persons,” Bautista said.

Subpoena

Committee chairman Senator Francis Escudero said he may subpoena Bautista if he continues to evade the investigation.

Escudero said they sent Bautista an invitation “duly received” at the former Comelec chairman’s address in  Bonifacio Global City.

Bautista said he’s been out of the country since November 21.

“Since November 21, I have been out of the country to explore consultancy opportunities abroad and renew professional acquaintances with former colleagues of international law firms that I had previously worked with. The records will bear this out. I am still currently abroad for a medical check-up and a long overdue sabbatical,” Bautista said.

The December 6 hearing was attended by officials of the Luzon Development Bank (LDB), where Bautista has several accounts.

Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) officer-in-charge Mel Georgie Racela and other representatives of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) also attended the hearing.

Embattled

The House committee on justice earlier junked the impeachment complaint against Bautista, who eventually announced his resignation effective at the end of the year.

But the House plenary still voted to impeach him, followed by an announcement from Malacañang that President Rodrigo Duterte has accepted Bautista’s resignation “effective immediately.”

A month later, Duterte replaced him with Sheriff Abas.

Bautista is also being investigated by the Department of Justice, the Office of the Ombudsman, and the Bureau of Internal Revenue. – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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