• Senate mulls investigation of Bautista ‘ill-gotten wealth’

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    BECAUSE no impeachment complaint has been filed against Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista, the Senate may still investigate him on allegations that he has amassed P1 billion in ill-gotten wealth.

    Senators Vicente Sotto 3rd and Francis Escudero cited on Tuesday the Senate investigation in 2015 on the alleged involvement of then vice president Jejomar Binay in the overpricing of a parking building in Makati City.

    Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the blue ribbon committee, said the senators must wait for the impeachment case against Bautista to reach the Senate.

    Escudero said that like Binay, Bautista was an impeachable official under the Constitution.

    Sotto is set to refer on Wednesday to the blue ribbon panel his resolution seeking to investigate Bautista’s hidden wealth.

    “The Senate investigated VP Binay before. What if after investigation by the Senate, he (Bautista) is able to prove that he did no wrongdoing? Or what if no impeachment case is filed?” Escudero said.

    “Bakit ‘yung EJK (extrajudicial killing) na bintang nila kay Presidente (Rodrigo Duterte) may investigation? Impeachable (offense) din ‘yun ah? (Why was it that there had been an investigation on the allegation against the President about EJK? That is also an impeachable offense),” Sotto said.

    Gordon said: “We will discuss this thoroughly. This guy, Bautista, is a Comelec chairman, a constitutional official.”

    “If I’m going to investigate him and then someone will impeach him there will be a duplication of the investigation,” he said.

    Bautista has to be impeached first by the House of Representatives before the case could be elevated to the Senate.

    The Senate will convene as an impeachment court to determine whether there is enough evidence to remove Bautista as Comelec chief.

    BERNADETTE E. TAMAYO

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