Bautista faces impeachment
Lawyer files complaint with Ombudsman
A FORMER Marcos lawyer has filed an impeachment complaint against Commission on Elections Chairman Jose Andres Bautista with the Office of the Ombudsman.
Oliver Lozano, 77, confirmed that he filed the impeachmen complaint against Bautista before the Ombudsman and not before Congress.
“Yes, I filed the complaint last Monday,” Lozano told the Manila Standard.
“Under the Ombudsman law, the Ombudsman has jurisdiction, power and authority to investigate all impeachable officials and to file an impeachment complaint if evidence warrants the filing.”
Lozano made his statement even as the Presidential Commission on Good Government said ti was conducting a separate investigation on the allegations its former head and now Commission on Elections chairman Andres Bautista has accumulated hidden wealth worth P1 billion, an official said Friday.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II made the revelation after meeting with acting PCGG Chairman Reynaldo Munsayac and two other commissioners―Rey Bulay and John Agbayani―who provided him with documents on the possible anomalies involving Bautista.
Aguirre said the documents pertained to “cases of possible ghost employees, travel violations not in accordance with administrative procedure.”
However, he admitted that the PCGG probe was still in the initial stage.
Bautista was PCGG chairman from 2010 up to 2015 before he was appointed to head the Comelec. The PCGG is an attached agency of the Department of Justice.
“There was something suspicious when he was with the PCGG but that was the assessment of the three commissioners. Hopefully, this would be part of the report that will be submitted to us,” Aguirre said.
“Like the NBI, PCGG also has the power to investigate.”
Bautista, who has pleaded to stop what he called the “media circus,” has been accused by his wife Patricia Paz of amassing P1 billion of ill-gotten wealth. She provided an affidavit to the NBI after meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte on July 26.
Part of the NBI’s investigation is to look into the reported 35 bank accounts of Bautista.
Aguirre said the NBI had a memorandum of agreement with the Anti-Money Laundering Council that will be tapped to help in the probe.
While Aguirre said they would not ask Bautista to issue a waiver allowing the examination of his bank accounts, it would be easier for the investigators if he would provide one.
Under the Bank Secrecy Law, all deposits with banks or banking institutions in the country are considered absolutely confidential.
“It is up to him [Bautista] to issue a waiver or not. If he will, well and good,” Aguirre said.
Lozano on Friday slammed Congress, saying “I find it hard to find an endorser because of the grease money needed there.
“I believe and I can say, anyway, it is my expression of belief and opinion, the ill-gotten wealth not declared in his Statement of Assets and Liabilities Net Worth could have been amassed from Smartmatic [Philippines Inc.],” he said.
He was referring to the May 2016 vice presidential election when then senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. lost to Vice President Leni Robredo after Smartmatic changed its hash code.
“Comelec allowed the hash code changed,” he said.
He called on Bautista to resign “out of pride and honor.”
“Public office is public trust,” he said, questioning Bautista’s revelation that a third party was involved that broke his marriage with his wife Patricia Paz.
Meanwhile, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said Friday the marital woes of the Bautista and his wife had moved the House of Representatives to speed up the approval of the bill on the dissolution of marriages.
Alvarez said the House was poised to pass his House Bill 6027 before the end of the year
“The House of Representatives will try its best to pass the bill before Christmas,” Alvarez told a radio interview.
He authored HB 6027 where he cited “severe and chronic unhappiness” as a ground for the dissolution of a marriage.
“The ground to dissolve marriage is unhappiness, and there are a number of reasons for that,” Alvarez said.