Sunday 15 October 2017

Atty Kapunan: We will pursue our complaint of Plunder against the COMELEC chair

The Commission on Elections chairman (COMELEC) Andres Bautista would still have his plate full, this after tendering his resignation last week and him being the first COMELEC chair in history being  impeached by the Congress.

Patricia “Trish” Bautista, thru her lawyer Lorna Kapunan is really intent in pursuing his cases against the COMELEC chair, despite the latter’s submission of his resignation and impeachment  letter last week.A looming plunder complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman whether he resigns from his post or gets impeached by Congress.

“We will file plunder (case). The impeachment will only remove him from his position,” Kapunan said. *
Patricia "Trish" Bautista and impeached COMELEC chair Andres Bautista (photo credit to Manila Bulletin)

Kapunan explained that if the Comelec chairman would be impeached, he only has to vacate his position, but to make him accountable for the alleged crimes he has committed, cases would have to be filed against Bautista in court.

“Criminal cases have to be filed against him, some members of his family, Smartmatic, Divina Law Firm managing partner Nilo Divina, and the Luzon Development Bank,” she said.

Kapunan said “We are awaiting the report of the National Bureau of investigation  (NBI) on the evidence Patricia turned over to them.”

In the affidavit Patricia filed before the NBI, she alleged her husband has 35 bank accounts amounting to more than PHP300 million with the Luzon Development Bank; has a foreign currency account and a peso account amounting to USD12,778.30 with the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC); and HKD948,358.97 with the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corp. (HSBC).

Among her many accusations, Patricia also claimed University of Sto. Tomas (UST) law dean Nilo Divina had been giving commissions to Bautista. Divina’s law office had been the law firm of Smartmatic, which supplied Comelec with its vote-counting machines.

Chairman Bautista denied all of these allegations, stressing that the issue is only a marital dispute. In response to his wife’s tirades, he filed charges for coercion, qualified theft and robbery among others, against her at the Taguig City Prosecutor’s Office. *

Department of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre signed Department Order No. 517 on Aug. 7 giving the NBI the authority to investigate and do a case build-up into the allegations of corruption.

The DOJ has tapped the the NBI to probe the Comelec chief’s alleged failure to declare passbooks, bank documents and real property documents in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN). All of which are the offshoot of Patricia’s filing with the NBI of an affidavit to that effect last Aigust 1.

He explained that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will only hear criminal complaints against Bautista if the complainants decide to pursue them before his department.

Aguirre said it would be up to Patricia and the NBI if they would file cases against the Comelec chairman.

“It's the complainants who will pursue. We will just hear the case if it’s filed before the DOJ,” Aguirre said.


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