• Bautista snubs Senate probe


    FOR his failure to explain why he snubbed Wednesday’s inquiry into his alleged unexplained wealth, former Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista would be issued a subpoena by the Senate to compel him to attend the next public hearing in January 2018.

    Sen. Francis Escudero, chairman of the Senate Committee on Banks, said the panel would request Senate President Aquilino Pimentel 3rd to issue the subpoena to Bautista.

    Escudero resumed the public hearing on the reported ill-gotten Wealth of Bautista after Malacañang officially accepted the latter’s resignation and the House of Representatives terminated impeachment proceedings against him.

    He began on August 23 the investigation of Bautista’s possible violation of the Anti-Money Laundering Act after his estranged wife, Patricia, claimed that the resigned poll chief had amassed around P1 billion in hidden wealth that includes condominium units and cash deposits with the Luzon Development Bank (LDB).

    Escudero said Bautista, during his chairmanship of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) during the previous Aquino administration, violated Department of Finance’s regulations when he allegedly transferred some PCGG-sequestered assets to the LDB.

    He would ask the PCGG to issue a waiver to allow the Senate panel probing Bautista’s alleged hidden wealth to scrutinize these sequestered assets deposited with the LDB.

    Escudero noted that the LDB is not an authorized government depository bank.

    “It is a big question why Chairman Bautista transferred the accounts of sequestered corporations to a private bank despite regulations which mandate that these must be placed in government depository bank such as the Land Bank [of the Philippines]and DBP [Development Bank of the Philippines].”

    Escudero said his committee cannot force the LDB to reveal Bautista’s alleged peso and foreign currency accounts there without violating the Bank Secrecy Law.


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