Senate panel subpoenas Bautista for skipping hearing

Audrey Morallo - Philstar.com
Senate panel subpoenas Bautista for skipping hearing

A Senate panel on Tuesday issued a subpoena to former COMELEC chairman Andres Bautista following his non-appearance in today's inquiry. Philstar.com/Efigenio Toledo IV, File

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies on Tuesday issued a subpoena to former Commissions on Elections chairman Andres Bautista after he skipped a hearing on a possible violation of the country's Anti-Money Laundering Law.

According to Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero, Bautista is commanded and directed to appear before the panel on Feb. 12, 2018.

Escudero said that failure to do so would lead the Senate to cite him in contempt and move for his arrest under Section 18 of the Rules Governing Inquiries in Aid of Legislation.

"The committee has consistently sent him invitations to all of the hearings we conducted but, until today, he has not given any reasons for his absence. Not even a representative to act on his behalf," Escudero, the chair of the panel, said.

"We held him in his own words on the media in the past that he will appear and defend himself once invited but apparently he has been a consistent no-show," he added.

The committee has sent the invitations to all of Bautista's three known addresses since the proceedings began in August.

Tuesday's hearing would have been the third, and this is also the third time that Bautista snubbed the inquiry.

Escudero has also asked the Bureau of Immigration to provide the panel with all the travel information of the former Comelec chairman from Aug. 1, 2017 to the present.

The Senate committee has been holding hearings since last year in connection with Senate Resolution 468 on the possible violation of the country's Anti-Money Laundering Law by some institutions.

Bautista's estranged wife accused the former poll chief of having money and property worth between P250 million and P300 million in value, more than the P158.5 million he declared in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth.

Bautista belied the allegations and stressed that his estranged wife's claims may have political and financial motivations.

Moves to impeach Bautista started at the House, and in October last year the then poll chairman offered to step down by December.

However, this did not stop the House from pursuing an impeachment case against him and overturned a panel decision to discard the complaint.

Several days later and facing the specter of a full-blown trial at the Senate, Bautista resigned from his post.


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