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Speculative, DOJ says of scandal’s poll impact

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Speculative, DOJ says of scandal’s poll impact

Comelec chairman Andres Bautista. INQUIRER / Grig C. Montegrande

Insinuations that the results of the May 2016 automated balloting may have been compromised in the wake of corruption allegations against Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chair Andres Bautista were “speculative,” Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said on Friday.

“We have to dig deeper in our investigation. [Right] now, we’re still on the surface because the issue has just come up,” Aguirre told reporters.

Asked about claims by some lawmakers that the bombshell dropped by Bautista’s estranged wife Patricia could tarnish the credibility of the elections, he said: “That’s speculative.”

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Patricia had accused her husband of unlawfully amassing some P1 billion in cash and real estate property and hiring “ghost consultants” as Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) chair from 2010 to 2015.

Bautista denied the charges.

PCGG papers

According to Aguirre, PCGG Chair Reynold Munsayac and Commissioners Rey Bulay and John Agbayani had furnished him documents on supposed anomalies involving Bautista in the PCGG.

He said the documents had been turned over to the National Bureau of Investigation, which Aguirre directed to look into Patricia’s accusations on orders of President Duterte.

The NBI, he added, would coordinate with the Anti-Money Laundering Council to examine Bautista’s finances and scrutinize his financial transactions.

“The PCGG has the power to investigate the [accumulation of] ill-gotten wealth,” Aguirre said. “There were questionable [transactions] when he was the PCGG chair. That was the assessment of the three commissioners.”

“There are cases of possible [hiring of] ghost employees and travels not in accordance with administrative procedure. We are still in the initial stage,” he said.

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On Friday, hundreds of employees and officials of the Comelec showed their support to Bautista by joining him in his regular Mass at the Manila Cathedral.

Most of them were clad in white shirts, while some of them carried placards bearing messages of support for Bautista.

“We support Chair Andy,” “Our prayers are with you Chairman Andy, be strong for your family and Comelec,” read some of the placards.

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TAGS: Andres Bautista, Commission on Elections, Patricia Bautista, Unexplained wealth, Vitaliano Aguirre II
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