Senate panel issues subpoena for ex-Comelec chief Bautista

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate committee on banks, financial institutions, and currencies summoned former Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Andres Bautista after he repeatedly skipped hearings on his alleged ill-gotten wealth.

Committee chairman Senator Francis Escudero issued the subpoena on Tuesday, January 23, after Bautista was a no-show again at the hearing. It was the 3rd time that the former Comelec chief skipped the proceedings.

Under the subpoena, Bautista is ordered to appear before the committee on February 12. If he fails to do so, he would be held in contempt and arrested under Senate rules.

Escudero also directed the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to provide the committee with Bautista's travel information from August 1, 2017 or since the panel started hearings, to present.

The committee has repeatedly sent invitations to all of Bautista's 3 known addresses but to no avail.

"The committee has consistently sent him invitations to all of the hearings we conducted but until today, he has not given any reasons for his absence. Not even a representative to act on his behalf," Escudero said.

"We held him in his own words in the media in the past that he will appear and defend himself once invited but apparently he has been a consistent no-show."

Bautista earlier faced an impeachment complaint over allegations of his estranged wife that he illegally amassed nearly P1 billion.

But before the complaint could prosper, Bautista resigned and was replaced by Sheriff Abas.

The Senate investigation, however, has yet to conclude, as it continues to look into Bautista's possible violation of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA). –

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is a multimedia reporter focusing on media, technology, and disinformation.