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Ombudsman's probe into Bautista's alleged ill-gotten wealth underway, source says

COMELEC Chairman Andres Bautista, facing a fact-finding probe at the ombudsman, is seen in this May 2016 file photo. Philstar.com/Efigenio Toledo IV, File

MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Ombudsman has launched a fact-finding investigation into the alleged ill-gotten wealth of Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista.

In text message to reporters, a well-placed source from the ombudsman said the anti-graft body's Field Investigation Office had already begun its fact-finding or evidence-gathering stage in relation to the allegations of Bautista's estranged wife, Particia Paz, that her husband had close to P1-billion worth of ill-gotten wealth.

READ: The story so far: Poll chief Andres Bautista and wife

The source said the evidence gathering would also cover the alleged misdeclaration in Bautista's Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth.

The source said Particia, accompanied by her lawyer Lorna Kapunan, went to the Office of the Ombudsman on Friday last week after she was subpoenaed by the FIO.

“Yes, their investigation has already started. What was agreed upon last Friday is to set hearings two weeks from now, simultaneous with the hearings to be conducted by the House of Representatives,” Kapunan confirmed to The STAR in a phone interview.

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READ: Comelec's Bautista claims demolition job

Kapunan said their camp had already submitted several documents to the National Bureau of Investigation which is also conducting its own probe into Bautista's alleged illegally-obtained wealth.

Kapunan said the documents, which included Bautista's bank records, would likewise be submitted to the House of Representative Committee on Justice and the ombudsman.

“She (Patricia) was subpoenaed by the ombudsman in line with its fact finding investigation and out of respect to the Ombudsman, we brought our client. We informed them there is already an investigation being conducted by the NBI and therefore we don't want to preempt whatever the results will be,” Kapunan said in a follow-up text message to reporters.

READ: Poll chief Andres Bautista cries 'extortion' against wife

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