Bautista not off the hook yet in Senate probe, Escudero says
Former Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chair Andres Bautista is not yet off the hook from the Senate investigations despite his impeachment case being rendered moot and academic by the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
This was the opinion of Senator Francis Escudero, chair of the Senate committee on banks, financial institutions and currencies, which is slated to continue its probe into Bautista’s alleged unexplained wealth upon the resumption of the Senate session in November.
“May desisyon na ang SC (Supreme Court) kaugnay nyan sa kaso ni dating pangulong (Joseph) Estrada kung saan sabi ng SC natuloy man o hindi ang isang impeachment, ‘yung pananagutan civil o criminally ng isang opisyal sa ginawa o hindi niya ginawa nung siya ay nasa pwesto ay nananatili pa rin at dapat pa rin niyang panagutan,” Escudero said in a phone patch interview on Wednesday.
(The Supreme Court already has a decision related to that in the case of former president Estrada where the SC said whether or not the impeachment goes through, whatever the official is civilly or criminally liable — for what he did or didn’t do when he was still in office — will remain and he should still be held accountable.)
The senator also said that among the issues the Comelec chief should explain was how the deposits into the accounts controlled by him as former head of the Presidential Commission on Good Governance (PCGG), make up majority of Luzon Development Bank’s (LDB) money.
Bautista’s wife, Patricia, earlier claimed that he had more than 30 bank accounts with LDB amounting to P329 million.
Citing regulations, Escudero also said all deposits of any agency, sequestered or not, should be under a government depository bank. LDB is not a government depository bank.
“May dapat siya ipaliwanag dahil ito ay taliwas sa regulasyon gaya ng sinabi ko na dapat sa isang government depository bank ilagay ang pera,” Escudero said.
(He should explain this because it’s contrary to the regulation that the money should be put into a government depository bank.)
The senator also said Bautista and his wife would be invited only if one of the committee members would request their presence at the hearing.
“Ang komite passive body lamang, kung anong hilingin ng mga miyembro kung walang mag-object syang gagawin ng kumite. Sa ngayon ang kahilingan pa lamang para mag-attend si chairman Bautista ay kung hindi siya magbibigay ng waiver na nagmula kay Senator (Grace) Poe,” he said.
(The committee is a passive body; whatever the members wish if no one objects will be done by the committee. Now, the only request for Bautista’s attendance is if he won’t give a waiver from Senator Poe.)
Escudero added that, as of now, no member of the committee requested to invite Patricia.
“Wala pang miyembro ng kumite na humihiling na dumalo yung asawa ni chairman Bautista. Iingatan ko rin ‘yun kasi ayoko naman maging pagkakataon o venue ‘yun para makapanood lamang kayo ng nagbabangayang mag-asawa,” he said.
(None of the committee member has asked for Bautista’s wife to attend. I’m cautious about it because I don’t want that to be just a venue where you can watch a husband and wife fight.) /je
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