Comelec chair belies ex-wife’s unexplained wealth allegations

MANILA — Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Juan Andres Bautista denied the allegations of having undeclared wealth worth PHP1 billion hurled at him by his estranged wife, Patricia Paz, noting that the “family issue” has been politicized.

In a press conference, the poll body chief is hoping that their problems will be settled or addressed in a civil and decent manner.

“I am extremely disappointed over the recent actuation of my estranged wife, particularly making false accusations against me and allowing herself to be used to serve the political agenda of some opportunistic people,” Bautista said.

“Her allegations are all lies, and I categorically deny all of them. It was my hope that we could still fix our marital problems, or at least addressed them in a civil and decent manner,” he added.

Bautista said he welcomes any investigation that will be conducted on the accusations hurdled against him.

“It is now clear she is motivated by greed and that she will not stop at nothing to besmirch my reputation and that of my family for the purpose of financial gains, even to the extent of allowing herself to be used by certain people and groups to promote a political agenda designed to cast aspersions on me and the Comelec’s work in the 2016 elections,” Bautista added.

With this, the poll body official expressed gratitude to President Rodrigo Duterte for taking time to talk with him and his estranged wife early this month in Malacanang.

“President Duterte himself has graciously mediated our problem for which I am extremely grateful. But her recent statements and actions clearly manifest that she has no desire to save the marriage,” he said.

Bautista added, “The President was very kind. He was like not only a mediator but also a marriage counselor. He recounted his own experiences with his family and that he was providing us good advice.”

When asked if he offered to resign from his post, during the meeting, he said, “I didnt offer. I just said ako hindi ako kapit-tuko kung sa tingin nya kailangan ko magbitiw wala ako problema.”

Likewise, Bautista was asked on what it is stated in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth.

“I think its PHP176 million that’s a public document so its something that you can verify,” he said.

The Comelec chief added, “It has been ten months since she stole cash, GCs (gift certificates), ATM cards and other financial documents belonging to myself and my family, many of which her lawyers embellished, doctored or fabricated. Throughout this time, she has repeatedly attempted to extort and blackmail me using her lawyers, and media contacts. And when she realized that no windfall was forthcoming, she decided to file her affidavit based on fabrications and lies.”