Sotto seeks probe on Comelec chief’s alleged ‘ill-gotten wealth’


MANILA, Aug. 7 — Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III on Monday filed a resolution seeking a probe into the reported “ill-gotten wealth” of Commission on Elections (Comelec) chair Andres Bautista as alleged by his estranged wife, Patricia Paz Bautista.

Under Sotto’s resolution 456, he directed the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to conduct an inquiry into Bautista’s alleged ill-gotten wealth amounting to hundreds of millions of pesos, bank accounts, and other properties which he failed to declare in his 2016 statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN).

Sotto said that under the Constitution, “public officials and employees have an obligation to accomplish and submit declarations under oath of, and the public has the right to know, their assets, liabilities, net worth and financial and business interests.”

“Comelec must not only be compliant with the laws ensuring honesty and integrity in the performance of government service but also be above suspicion of any irregularity being the guardian of the Philippine electoral systems,” Sotto said in his resolution.

The Senator further said there is a need to determine if the present law is adequate enough to ensure compliance by all public officials with the provisions on the required submission of SALN.

“This goes beyond a domestic dispute. It is an allegation of corruption of epic proportions that definitely concerns public interest given the sensitive position in our democratic setup Chairman Bautista occupies.,” Sotto added.

Senator Grace Poe, for her part, said that these “shocking revelations” called for a lifestyle check among high Comelec officials.

Poe also said that the Congress should allow the proper and duly mandated offices to look deeper into the criminal aspect of the case without pre-empting any possible complaint for impeachment.

“…These investigations should not deter the Senate from looking into the veracity of the other aspects of the allegations that appear to be supported by documentary evidence for purposes of coming up with appropriate remedial legislation,” Poe said.

The lady senator said the issue is more than just a quarrel between Bautista and his wife.

“It can no longer be framed merely as a ‘wife vs. husband’ quarrel. The information made public points to the possibility of a ‘husband vs. the people’ case,” Poe said.

Senator Risa Hontiveros described the allegations against Bautista as a very “serious” issue. However, she said sufficient evidence must be presented to back these claims.