Comelec chief accuses wife of extortion attempt
His wife’s allegation that he amassed P1 billion in ill-gotten wealth was part of her attempt to “extort” from him, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chair Andres Bautista said on Sunday.
Bautista denied the accusations of his wife, Patricia Paz, that he kept certain bank accounts and owned some pieces of property that he failed to state in his 2016 statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN).
“It’s a complete lie,” Bautista said.
Patricia ransacked his cabinet in their condominium unit in November last year and stole his “financial documents,” including bank passbooks that he believed became the basis for her charges, he said.
If anything, Bautista claimed it was his wife who was living an “extravagant, ostentatious” lifestyle and even ran a credit card debt of P3.2 million at one point that he had to pay for.
“It’s all about money. She wants to amicably settle; she wants a huge amount, which I don’t have,” he said in an interview at the unit of Patricia’s mother, Baby Cruz Vasquez, and stepfather, Daniel Vasquez, in Makati City.
“This is pure extortion,” he added.
Bautista said his wife asked for a P620-million settlement from him, which he rejected because he could not afford it.
Responding to his wife’s specific allegations that he kept several passbooks with Luzon Development Bank, he said: “I don’t think it was that many. These monies don’t all belong to me. Most of them belong to my parents, to my brother and sister.”
As to his foreign currency and peso accounts with Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., he said: “It’s possible. It’s all in the SALN.”
He, however, vehemently denied keeping an account with HSBC.
“That’s a complete lie,” he said. “I don’t have that. If she can produce it, it’s all hers.”
On the condo unit in One Bonifacio High Street, he said that this was declared in his SALN.
The property in the District in San Francisco, California, belongs to his sister, Susan Afan, according to Bautista.
On allegations that he kept investments abroad, such as in the Bauman Enterprises Ltd., the Comelec chief said he had only one offshore account and that was in Singapore.
As for his alleged investments in Mantova International Ltd., he said he was “trying to fix a loan, but it never pushed through.”
“I don’t own any of these things. These are all fictitious; they don’t belong to me,” he told the Inquirer in the presence of his parents-in-law, the Vasquez couple.
Bautista said he was willing to settle financially with his wife so he could “move on.” He said he had been keeping his “peace” for the sake of their four sons.
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