By Jeffrey Damicog and Samuel Medenilla
Whether Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista resigns from his post immediately or later or gets impeached or not, his wife has vowed to make sure he faces a plunder charge before the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB).
“We will file plunder (case),” said lawyer Lorna Kapunan, legal counsel of his estranged wife Patricia Cruz-Bautista.
Even after he announced last Wednesday he would resign, the House of Representatives hours later voted 137-75-2 to impeach Bautista.
But Bautista has found an ally in his fight against his pending impeachment case in the person of his predecessor, former Comelec chairman, Sixto Brillantes, Jr.
In a statement posted in his official Facebook account, Brillantes called the decision of the House to impeach Bautista as a “purely politically”-motivated decision.
Brillantes criticized the lawmakers, who voted for Bautista’s impeachment, since they based their decision on “deficient, defective, flawed and infirmed verification” by not determining the sufficiency of substance of the complaints against Bautista.
He said this effectively violated Bautista’s right for due process.
Meanwhile, Kapunan said it a text message: “The impeachment will only remove him from his position.”
“Criminal cases have to be filed against him, his mother, sister, brother, Atty. (Nilo) Divina, Smartmatic, Luzon Development Bank, etc. for plunder, bribery, graft, corruption, money laundering, recovery by the Govt of ill gotten wealth,tax evasion,” she pointed out.
In the meantime, the lawyer said they were waiting for the results of the investigation currently being conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) against Bautista.
“We are awaiting the report of the NBI on the evidence Patricia turned over to them,” Kapunan said.
In the affidavit Patricia filed before the NBI, she alleged her husband has 35 bank accounts amounting to more than P300 million with the Luzon Development Bank; has foreign currency account and a peso account amounting to $12,778.30 with the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC); and a bank account containing HK$948,358.97 with the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC).
Among her many accusations, Patricia also claimed University of Sto. Tomas (UST) law dean Nilo Divina has been giving commissions to Bautista. Divina’s law office had been the law firm of Smartmatic which supplied Comelec with its vote counting machines.
At the moment, Bautista could not be charged since he is immune from suit as Comelec Chairman. (With a report from Samuel P. Medenilla)