By Rey Panaligan
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said on Monday Patricia Paz Bautista, estranged wife of Chairman Andres Bautista of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), may seek help from the government’s witness protection program (WPP).
“She can apply with WPP and we will consider, especially since there are reported threats against her,” Aguirre said.
This developed as the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) asked the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for the affidavit and copies of the documents submitted by Mrs. Bautista.
In a letter to NBI Director Dante Gierran, VACC lawyer Manuelito Luna said the affidavit and the documents would be used as supporting papers to the impeachment complaint to be filed against Chairman Bautista by former Negros Oriental Rep. Jacinto Paras, also a VACC member.
“May we respectfully request for certified copies of the affidavit of (Mrs.) Patricia Bautista and the 35 Luzon Development Bank (LDB) passbooks, RCBC peso account document and other documents submitted to your good office,” the letter stated.
“Our said client (Paras) is resorting to this request owing to the fact that the committee on justice of the House of Representatives will not accept any documents other than certified or original, appended to impeachment complaints,” it also stated.
After meeting with President Duterte last month, Mrs. Bautista submitted an affidavit to the NBI which was the basis of the agency’s probe ordered by Aguirre.
She claimed her husband has money in banks, condominium units, and interests and shares in overseas companies worth about P1 billion which he did not declare in his 2016 SALN.
Chairman Bautista, who declared a net worth of P176.3 million in his 2016 SALN, has denied his wife’s accusation and claimed that it was part of her attempt to extort from him P620 million in settlement. He has filed charges against his wife.
The other day, Aguirre said the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) would start its own investigation into the alleged P1 billion in hidden wealth of Chairman Bautista.
He said he has met with BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay and discussed the BIR’s participation in the investigation, particularly in the sharing of documents and findings by the NBI’s anti-fraud division.
“The BIR wants to partner with us in this investigation. We need to see if there are tax liabilities based on the affidavit and documents we have gathered,” Aguirre said.
Citing an initial report from the NBI, Aguirre said the bureau has started its coordination with the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) in the examination of the more than 30 alleged bank accounts of Bautista as alleged by his wife.
He also said the NBI has also coordinated with the Land Registration Authority (LRA), Land Transportation Office (LTO), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) and various property developers.
Tags: Aguirre, Aguirre: Patricia Bautista may seek help from WPP, Andres Bautista, Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), chairman, Commission on Elections, hidden wealth, Manila Bulletin, Witness Protection Program, WPP