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Bautista’s P1-B wealth probed

By REY G. PANALIGAN

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said yesterday the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) has started its investigation into the alleged R1 billion in wealth not declared by Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista in his 2016 statement of assets, liabilities and networth.

The PCGG, an attached agency of the Department of Justice, has the power to investigate cases of ill-gotten wealth, Aguirre said in a talk to journalists.

He said he has met with PCGG officials – Acting Chairman Reynaldo Munsayac and Commissioners Rey Bulay and John Agbayani – who provided him with documents on possible irregularities.

Bautista served as PCGG chairman starting in 2010 until his appointment to the highest Comelec post in 2015.

Initially, the PCGG’s probe will zero in on alleged commissions given to Bautista by a law office, which the law firm had denied, and cases involving so-called ghost employees, Aguirre said.

There were also documents pertaining to Bautista’s travel abroad, he said.

However, he said the documents were given to him a few days ago and he has yet to peruse them.

He pointed out he has to await the results of the PCGG investigation.

Earlier, Aguirre had directed the National Bureau of Investigation to conduct a probe on the allegations aired in the affidavit executed by Bautista’s estranged wife Patricia Paz.

He had also ordered the NBI to coordinate with the Anti-Money Laundering Council in the investigation of Bautista’s alleged 35 bank accounts.

Aguirre said he would not ask Bautista to issue a waiver for the opening of his so-called bank accounts. However, it would be easier for the investigators if Bautista would do so, he added.

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