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Comelec chair denies unexplained wealth

By LESLIE AQUINO

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista yesterday denied that he has unexplained wealth as alleged by his estranged wife Patricia.

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The embattled poll chief, who called a press briefing, said he’s ready to face any investigation or impeachment complaint. “Her allegations are all lies, and I categorically deny all of them,” said Bautista in the press briefing.

Patricia had earlier submitted to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) a 10-page affidavit in which she alleged that her husband seemed to have accumulated wealth in excess of what he declared in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN).

Mrs. Bautista alleged that she stumbled upon money in checkbooks, passbooks, and several offshore accounts, gift-wrapped bundles of cash amounting to millions, and various titles to properties she never heard of.

Bautista maintained that the SALN he submitted is correct.

“I think its R176 million that’s a public document so it’s something that you can verify,” Bautista said. “If you look at my SALN, I think my SALN is the highest among constitutional offices and I think among government officials it would be in the Top 20….I used to be an international lawyer…I worked in New York…served as president of Shangrila Philippines so I have my own source of income. And I’ve been investing. The properties in my SALN are my only assets,” he added.

Among the bank accounts Patricia alleged her husband possesses are 30 accounts at the Luzon Development Bank (LDB) Taguig City branch totaling R227,701,053.

Another R101,519,909 were deposited in five accounts at the LDB Makati branch, according to Patricia.

Bautista flatly denied his wife’s allegations, accusing her of besmirching his reputation for financial gain.

“It is now clear she is motivated by greed and that she will stop at nothing to besmirch my reputation and that of my family for the purpose of financial gain, even to the extent of allowing herself to be used by certain people and groups to promote a political agenda designed to cast aspersions on me and the Comelec’s work in the 2016 elections,” he said.

According to Bautista, it has been 10 months since his wife allegedly stole cash, GCs, ATM cards, and other financial documents belonging to him and his family.

Many of which, he said were allegedly embellished, doctored or fabricated by her wife’s lawyers.

“Throughout this time, she has repeatedly attempted to extort and blackmail me using her lawyers and media contacts.

And when she realized that no windfall was forthcoming, she decided to file her affidavit based on fabrications and lies,” said Bautista.

“It is apparent that she and her long time lover concocted this extortion plan with guidance from ill-intentioned lawyers who thought they could threaten me into simply turning over hard earned and legitimately acquired assets belonging to me and my family. They were wrong,” he added.

Bautista said he shall address all of the issues at the proper forum but he will not give in to “blackmail.”

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