MALACANANG has called for an investigation into the alleged unexplained wealth of Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said the allegations of Bautista’s wife, Patricia Paz, must be investigated as he reiterated that President Rodrigo Duterte would not tolerate corruption in the government.
“The whole matter has to be fully investigated. At this stage that’s all we can say,” Abella said during a press conference.
“As far as I can divulge is, there was a private meeting with the President but it did not state the exact person involved,” Abella said. “At this stage I cannot say that with certainties since I don’t have that [information]. There was closed-door meeting but I cannot affirm if it was that. What I can affirm is that the whole matter will be investigated.”
The Palace official also refused to comment when asked about Bautista’s claim that allegations against him were politically motivated.
In a separate press conference on Monday, Bautista said he was called by the President to Malacanang for a meeting with his wife on July 26.
Bautista’s wife claimed she had discovered bank and real property documents and several passbooks under her husband’s name that were not included in his 2016 SALN.
Bautista denied his wife’s claim that he has P1 billion in unexplained wealth, saying his wife was asking for P620 million before approaching the media.
Asked if the Palace would support the possible impeachment of Bautista if the allegations were true, Abella said, “The President’s stand regarding this matter that he will not tolerate corruption even a whiff of it.”
Before becoming Comelec chairman, Bautista was also chairman of the Presidential Commission on Good Government, which is in-charge of recovering the ill-gotten wealth of the late president Ferdinand Marcos and his family. CATHERINE S. VALENTE