Senate arrest order for ex-poll chief Bautista may be lifted soon
The arrest warrant issued against former Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Andres Bautista could be lifted next month after his lawyer promised on Monday to submit his sworn affidavit before the Senate committee on banks.
At the resumption of the hearing of the committee on Bautista’s alleged unexplained wealth, lawyer Anacleto Diaz promised to submit Bautista’s affidavit to the committee on March 26, 2018.
Once the panel receives the affidavit, Senator Francis Escudero said he would recommend the lifting of the arrest warrant against Bautista.
Escudero, chairman of the committee, explained that there are certain procedures in the Senate that must be complied with first before the warrant against Bautista is lifted.
It was Escudero who had ordered Bautista’s arrest for the latter’s repeated failure to attend the hearing of the committee.
Diaz however told the committee that his client could not submit yet the affidavit because he had to “fill up gaps” as many documents had been stolen by his estranged wife, Patricia.
The former poll chief, he said, also had to review the 33 Luzon Development Bank accounts, which are the subjects of the Senate probe.
Diaz said the bank accounts would show that Bautista had “substantial wealth” even before he joined the government in 2010 as head of the Presidential Commission on Good Government and that the “growth of his wealth through lawful means” could be fully explained.
The lawyer also noted that there is a pending plunder case filed against his client based on the affidavit of Bautista’s estranged wife and “stolen” documents.
Diaz also expressed confidence that the case would not prosper as a wife cannot testify against her husband and documents “illegally obtained” will not be admitted in courts.
“The past few months Mr. Chair, had been the most difficult and painful for Atty. Bautista,” Diaz said, pointing out how Bautista’s family, career, name and reputation have been ruined just because he refused to divorce his wife and pay her a total of P620 million worth of cash and properties.
With the lawyer’s intimation that Bautista that would not execute a waiver, Escudero still promised to recommend the lifting of the warrant as soon as the committee receives the affidavit.
But as Congress will be on recess starting this March 21, the senator said the document for the lifting of the warrant might be finalized sometime in April.
“That’s the most I can do,” Escudero said. /muf
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