BIR joins probe of Comelec chief’s alleged ill-gotten wealth
The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has joined the investigation of allegations that Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista has about P1 billion in undeclared assets.
On Sunday, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre met with BIR Commissioner Cesar Dulay and discussed the parameters of the investigation and sharing of documents and findings of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
“We need to see if there are tax liabilities based on the affidavit and documents we have gathered,” Aguirre said in a phone interview. “The BIR wants to partner with us in this investigation.”
Aguirre said the BIR chief would issue a letter of authority, which would allow revenue officers to examine the accounting records of Bautista and others mentioned in Patricia’s affidavit.
“Finance Secretary [Carlos] Dominguez has been informed about it [letter of authority],” Aguirre said.
The NBI, through its Anti-Fraud Division has already started with its investigation.
Based on the progress report submitted to Aguirre, the NBI already coordinated with various agencies, including the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to examine the more than 30 bank accounts mentioned by Bautista’s estranged wife Patricia.
“The conduct of parallel money laundering investigation was likewise requested from AMLC,” the NBI report stated.
Bautista has been accused by his wife Patricia Paz of amassing P1 billion in ill-gotten wealth. Aside from the more than 30 bank accounts, she also mentioned of various properties and investments made by the Comelec chief.
The NBI likewise coordinated with the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), which Bautista headed from 2010 to 2015.
The NBI also coordinated with the Office of the Ombudsman for Bautista’s statement of assets, liabilities, and networth (SALN).
They also coordinated with the Land Registration Authority (LRA), Land Transportation Office (LTO), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), and various property developers.
In justifying the investigation, Aguirre said the marital spat was unfortunate.
“But the government has to protect public interest,” he said. “There is an allegation here of illegally acquired wealth and we have to know of it is true.”
INQUIRER.net tried to get Bautista’s reaction, but he has not responded as of posting time. /atm
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.