Senate probe on Bautista ill-gotten wealth to continue–Escudero

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THE Senate investigation on the alleged ill-gotten wealth of resigned Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista will continue as soon as the House of Representatives dismisses the impeachment complaint filed against him.

Sen. Francis Escudero, chairman of the Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies, issued the statement on Wednesday following Bautista’s announcement that he has resigned as Comelec chief.

Escudero started in August the investigation on Bautista’s possible violation of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) after his estranged wife, Patricia, claimed that he had amassed around P1 billion in hidden wealth that included cash deposits and condominium units.

Sought to comment on the possible continuation of the Senate inquiry, Escudero said, “As soon as the House dismisses the impeachment complaint formally, yes, I will.”


Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said Bautista made the “right move” in giving up his post. “It is the best thing that he can do so that after he quits office, he can take care of his problems.”

“Anyway he is no longer facing an impeachment complaint and therefore, it cannot be said that he is avoiding impeachment,” he said.

“No one can say that he’s using the power of his office to influence the outcome of the case,” Drilon said.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) discovered in August that some sequestered firms managed by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) when Bautista was its chief had maintained accounts with Luzon Development Bank (LDB).

NBI Anti-Fraud Division Executive Officer Minerva Retanal told the Senate panel on Aug. 23 that she made the discovery when it started investigating the allegations Bautista’s wife.

 

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