Thursday, August 17, 2017
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
MANILA - The wife of Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista on Tuesday explained why her own parents are supporting the Comelec chief despite her allegations that he has nearly P1 billion in unexplained wealth.
Speaking to ANC, Patricia Bautista pointed out that her husband and her stepfather, Dr. Daniel Vazquez, are both represented by DivinaLaw, one of the country’s fastest-growing law firm.
"I'm sure there is a lot of parental fondness for Andy. But it also is another thing that through DivinaLaw -- DivinaLaw holds my father's estate, which technically, at the end of the day, knock on wood, if something is to happen to my stepfather, will end up being my mother's estate," Patricia said.
"If something were to happen to my stepfather, I am sure my mom feels she would need protection from Andy. Does that explain why she's on his side? I don't know, you decide."
Patricia, in a sworn statement, earlier alleged that she discovered bank and real property documents, and several passbooks under her husband's name that were not included in his 2016 statement of assets, liabilities and net worth.
She said Bautista "might have had, or currently has, misdealing and corrupt practices while in government service."
Bautista, she added, received commissions for referring companies, to DivinaLaw, including Smartmatic, the private contractor that supplied the automated election system for the 2010, 2013 and 2016 national elections.
During her ANC interview, Patricia showed what seems to be a "commission sheet" dated January 2016 that bears the names of lawyers from DivinaLaw and Smartmatic.
She also has a letter Smartmatic sent to the Comelec chief that mentions proposed amendments to the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines.
Comelec chief's wife shows passbooks, cash in envelopes, commission sheet
Bautista has denied that he concealed assets and pocketed payoffs from the May national polls.
"Wala po akong tinanggap na komisyon, kahit na isang kusing tungkol sa isang halalan. Totoo po iyun -- wala," he said in a phone interview with ABS-CBN News.
Comelec chief denies corruption claims, accuses wife of extortion
DivinaLaw meanwhile said it would not issue a statement regarding the issue but would be preparing legal actions, according to a media report.
Published August 15, 2017 5:31pm
By KATHRINA CHARMAINE ALVAREZ, GMA News
Senators Richard Gordon and Vicente “Tito” Sotto III on Tuesday said there is no sufficient basis to summon Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte to attend the ongoing investigation into the P6.4-billion shabu shipment smuggled from China.
Gordon, chairman of the blue ribbon committee, said Duterte’s alleged links to the personalities supposedly involved in the shipment, has yet to be supported by evidence.
“I have not found any evidence to believe that,” Gordon said. “Naiintindihan ko yan eh. Sasabihin nila lahat ng masasabi nila para makasira sa tao. Pero ang hinihintay ko ebidensya, ebidensya.”
The name of Paolo, son of President Rodrigo Duterte, was first mentioned in a House committee hearing by Mark Taguba.
Taguba claimed that Paolo was being “name-dropped” by individuals behind the so-called Davao Group.
During the hearing, Kenneth Dong, the alleged middleman in the shabu shipment, denied being close to Paolo. This, after Dong and the younger Duterte’s photos circulated on social media.
Taguba also clarified that he has no personal knowledge of Paolo’s involvement in the Davao Group, saying it was just hearsay.
Sotto, for his part, said critics are just using the term Davao Group to implicate the vice mayor.
“Kapag sinabing Davao Group, kaagad na sinasabi Pulong Duterte,” Sotto said referring to Paolo’s nickname. “Wala, no basis at all. Ano na yun, talagang inaabuso yung paggamit na Davao Group.”
“I don’t think it’s necessary for us to invite the vice mayor,” Sotto said.
Paolo earlier refused to comment on the issue.
“Taguba admitted that his testimony against me was based entirely on rumors. Why would we entertain or believe a hearsay? One does not dignify lies with a response,” he said. — RSJ/KVD, GMA News
From the moment Patricia Bautista held a press conference exposing her husband – Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Chairman Andres Bautista’s “unexplained hidden wealth” a week ago, the public has been transfixed by the development of the issue. Most people have been left guessing and speculating on which one of the two is telling the truth. However, the silence from certain sectors in Philippine society particularly the Liberal Party, its allies and supporters is deafening. Even a so-called “investigative journalists” don’t seem to have enough motivation to investigate the source of Bautista’s wealth. Their behaviour is hardly surprising though. Their “no comment” stance just confirms what some have suspected all along.
A lot of people have long speculated that the supposed non-partisan COMELEC Chairman Bautista is allied with the Liberal Party. Now that he is under scrutiny for alleged corruption, his Liberal Party mates are most likely feeling the heat as well. Indeed, this scandal is bigger than Andres Bautista and his wife Patricia. This could spell disaster for the Liberal Party. If prosecuted for illegally amassing wealth, prosecutors could uncover evidence of electoral fraud favouring the Liberal Party candidates in the 2016 — or even earlier — elections. Allegations of vote rigging was rife even during the 2010 Presidential Elections. There are people who insist that former President BS Aquino’s win was the result of vote rigging too.
Patricia Bautista’s message to the public is clear. When asked if she is aware of the implication of what she is doing, she replied that if people turn a blind eye to this revelation, everything they complain about like the horrendous traffic, instability of the economy, and unemployment among other ills that plague the country will mean nothing. After all, the people essentially lose their right to complain when, after their public servants neglect their duties yet again, they go on to elect the same public servants again and again. This is assuming that every election is clean. If there is evidence that the election was rigged to favour candidates the voters did not choose themselves, then the public should be outraged. But if they choose to shrug it off and pretend that vote rigging is okay, then they are throwing away their right to suffrage.
Since that is the case, the Philippines is no longer a democracy. It is being run by the mafia – those who manipulate the result of elections. It may even be possible that they sell the votes to the highest bidder with the help of electronic voting machine provider Smartmatic and COMELEC.
I’ve always said that the problem in the Philippines has less to do with the tyranny of the few, but more to do with the tyranny of the majority – those who give power to the few members of the elite. That statement is evident again with the behaviour of Filipinos who pretend that vote rigging did not happen in the previous elections even when blatant tampering was done in the middle of canvassing of votes in the 2016 Presidential Elections. Some people are in denial because they don’t want to burst their own bubble. They hold on to the belief that the Liberal Party is for the interests of the people because that has been the narrative the party’s allies in mainstream media have been telling us for more than 30 years. These people’s apathy and arrogance make them enemies of the state.
I don’t know how some people can continue deluding themselves even when Bautista is already starting to show signs of inconsistencies. We can’t even expect a statement from the faculty of the Ateneo de Manila University – Bautista’s alma materand Liberal Party ally — to comment on his predicament since condemning his alleged corrupt activities will also reflect badly on the school. They will avoid putting their own in a bad light since it will highlight the fact that the school produces a lot of crooks.
Initially, Bautista said that his wife fabricated documents, but then he admits to owning several bank accounts in his subsequent statements in separate interviews with the media:
“People know this: that there were investments made by my family with Forex. This is a problem now, I don’t know if you’ve heard of this, but it was like pyramid scheme,” he said.He added the Bautista family would answer the unexplained wealth allegations “in due time.“It is true that our family and myself have deposits with Luzon Development Bank. As to the amount, I’m not sure because I said, these bankbooks were stolen,” Bautista told ANC’s Headstart.Though the Comelec chief does not know if there were actually 32 passbooks, he explained that he had several passbooks because of the investments he had with his siblings and parents. “We had to demarcate who owns which.”
Bautista’s inconsistencies are very telling. It’s a sign that he could be lying. He is starting to falter. He doesn’t behave like a seasoned lawyer. Why would he even admit that he and his family were into pyramid schemes? He should know that pyramid schemes are illegal in the Philippines. He is behaving more like a suspect under duress. He probably feels like everything is blowing up in his face. He is certainly coming across like a loser since he did not take care of his wife and failed to pacify her when he had the chance.
The source of Bautista’s wealth is one thing – he may or may not be able to prove they are sourced legally, but it still doesn’t explain why he did not include them in his Statement of Assets Liability and Net worth (SALN). If a former Supreme Court Chief Justice was impeached for less than what Bautista has in his bank accounts, then Bautista deserves a similar fate or, perhaps even more fitting, jail time.