Kapunan claims Bautista 'misused or misappropriated' PCGG funds

MANILA, Philippines – Citing “sources”, the counsel of Patricia Bautista, estranged wife of Commission on Elections Chairman (Comelec) Andres Bautista, claimed he “misused or misappropriated” funds during his term as Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) chief.

Lawyer Lorna Kapunan made these revelations on Tuesday, September 19, during a press conference at the House of Representatives.

The House on September 20 is set to tackle an impeachment complaint filed against the Comelec chairman.

“Sadly as we face September 21, which is in commemoration of Martial Law, this points to the use of funds for Martial Law victims that should be used for them. They have also been misused or misappropriated by Chairman Bautista,” said Kapunan.

Patricia Bautista, in the same press conference, reiterated earlier allegations she made against her estranged husband. She had earlier accused him of failing to declare properties in his State of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) and of having supposed unexplained wealth.

Bautista has denied his wife's allegations. 

In the impeachment complaint, lawyer Ferdinand Topacio and former Negros Representative Jacinto Paras, cited Patricia Bautista’s claim that the chairman “might have amassed” over a billion pesos as PCGG and later, Comelec chairman. Kapunan said she was raising this because on September 21, the country is set to remember the declaration of Martial Law by Ferdinand Marcos.

The Marcos years are marred by human rights abuses and the pilferage of government funds.

The PCGG was created to chase after the ill-gotten wealth of the late dictator and his family. Bautista was appointed PCGG chairman in 2010. Five years later, in 2015, he was appointed Comelec chief. His term expires in 2022.

The Comelec chairman’s wife, said Kapunan, was ready to face the impeachment court, should the complaint reach the Senate, because she had personal knowledge of the allegations against Bautista.

The justice committee will vote on September 20 on whether the complaint is sufficient in form and substance. If it gets enough votes, Bautista will be made to answer the allegations. The complaints will then be asked to submit a counter-reply.

The justice committee will then decide if there is probable cause to pursue the case. If it did, the complaint will be forwarded as articles of impeachment and will be voted upon by the House during session. – Rappler.com