Bautista resignation won’t affect Senate probe on his bank deals
A decision by Commission on Elections (Comelec) commissioner Andres Bautista to quit from his post will not affect the ongoing Senate probe on his unexplained wealth.
Senator Francis Escudero on Thursday said Bautista’s decision would not have any effect on the investigation of his committee, the committee on banks and financial institutions, on the issue.
But if the impeachment complaint against Bautista would be endorsed and heard by the Congress, the Senate committee on banks will have to halt its probe on the commissioner’s accounts.
“However, the filing and endorsement of an impeachment complaint against him may,” Escudero said.
“Personally, I believe the hearings should already be suspended. I will, however, consult the authors of the resolution and members of the Committee on this matter,” he said.
Poe said the said committee, which she co-chairs with Escudero, will decide depending on the progress of the impeachment proceedings in the House of Representatives and of the leadership of the Senate.
Poe reiterated that it would be Bautista’s “personal decision” to resign or take a leave of absence.
“Either way, such would not affect our ongoing probe to scrutinize the involved questionable bank transactions to aid the Senate in finding ways on how to strengthen the current law against money laundering,” Poe said in a text message.
Escudero’s committee, acting on a resolution filed by Majority leader Tito Sotto III and Senator Panfilo Lacson, started on Wednesday the probe on Bautista’s accounts with the Luzon Development Bank (LDB) and the possible violations it committed against the anti-money laundering act.
Earlier Thursday, Bautista said he was considering quitting or taking a leave of absence to protect the interests of his family and Comelec amid the controversy involving his unexplained wealth of up to P1 billion.
“Now, we are weighing all our next steps,” he told reporters ahead of the hearing by the House appropriations committee on the proposed P16 billion budget of the Comelec for 2018.
He replied in the affirmative when asked if he considered taking a leave or resigning, saying all options were on the table.
“Of course, we want to protect the interest, first of all, of my family and the interest of Comelec. That’s what we’re studying, contemplating and praying for,” Bautista said. ASU/JE