COMELEC Chairman Andres Bautista’s unexplained wealth must not be ignored

COMELEC Chairman Andres Bautista’s statements to the media are full of inconsistencies.
(Photo source: PhilStar)

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.

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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 mater and 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.”

Key personalities in mainstream media perceived to be allied with the Liberal Party are noticeably silent about the Andres Bautista scandal.

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.


6 Replies to “COMELEC Chairman Andres Bautista’s unexplained wealth must not be ignored”

  1. problem with pilipinos they don’t want to rise up. president duterte can’t handle these fight people want him to do on his own. just one rally by the people all these yellowtards will be gone in one day.

    1. …. if i am the president and the situations is like this no support i will give up and let the people choose the right one for the change they’ ve been longing for. maybe the pilipinos like the yellows better.

  2. There is more than 1 way to skin a cat. Every time Mr Bautista tries to answer a question, he either raises another for himself or for somebody else.

    Using purely the quotes above, I make a few observations :

    ‘People know this’ – who are these people?
    ‘Forex …. like pyramid scheme’ – according to Wikipedia, a pyramid scheme is similar to a Ponzi scheme, one difference being that failure to bring in new recruits usually results in no return. If Forex has been closed down, surely he would have some evidence of the ‘investments’ from the liquidators. While being defrauded is not a criminal offence, it does raise questions as to Mr. Bautista’s judgement and suitability to hold the office he does.
    ‘Amounts…… I am not sure’ The press has reported the balance to the last centavo. In the light of the size, you would expect him to know whether this is in the right ballpark or not.
    ‘deposits with Luzon Development Bank’ avoids any reference to deposits with other banks that have been quoted.
    Maybe it loses in translation, but I doubt many would equate 32 with ‘several’. If they were joint accounts, do the passbooks not have the account holders as B & father, B & mother, B & brother etc., or is this something glossed over by inquirers ?

    Other newspaper articles, particularly one by Rigoberto Tiglao that I have been unable to trace again,have thrown up a few interesting ‘coincidences’. Luzon Development Bank is a rural bank,owned by a family that is not only friendly with the Bautistas, but also had involvement with Liberal Party electoral management. Also none of the deposits was large enough to warrant a money-laundering report, although ,with Mr Bautista clearly within the category of Politically Exposed Person, one might expect regular deposits of PHP 3/400k to raise warning flags.
    The source of much of the money is supposed to be referral fees from a law firm which ,coincidentally, is Smartmatic’s legal advisers. This makes me wonder that if the business justified that level of referral fee, the client was not big enough to have their own regular legal advisers. Equally, did the clients know that these fees were being paid,as presumably they would end up paying it themselves ?

    All the above suggests to me a 3 pronged squeeze to see what juicy bits fall out
    Through BIR – have the referral fees been declared for tax?
    Through Banko Sentral – If these dubious payments are being waved through LDB, how many others are ? A visit by BSP inspectors ,including interviewing members of staff, might be enlightening.
    An investigation into who the clients generating the referral fees were, and what work was done to justify them. Does the Bar Council,or equivalent body, agree that paying referral fees to someone in Bautista’s position is ethical ?

    Not that I see anything happening, because nobody wants to rock the boat or embarrass anybody, and everybody wants to go for the spectacular,rather than slog through and prepare a watertight case.

  3. Andres”Si Latigo” Bautista, is a Sex Pervert. Imagine, dressing like a “Pretty Woman”; pretending to be a “Young Boy “…Where did he used the “Latigo” ?To people (men or woman or in between for sadistic sex ?
    It is the worst Electoral Corruption, I have ever seen in my life..

    Candidates who want to win election, give Andres “Si Latigo” Bautista: man, woman or in between, for perverted sex,; in return for winning an Election.

    It is easy to audit, where his funds and finances have came from; it is stealing, money laundering, bribery of tremendous proportion, with perverted sex, rolled into one !

    There is a You Tube video, showing Leni The Bobo Robredo, and Andres Bautista, meeting in a Hotel Room. “Nagpa Latigo siguro si Leni The Bobo Robredo, parang manalo”…

    As Jesus Christ said in the Christian Bible New Testament: ” Whatever is hidden in the Dark, shall be shouted and shown on the Rooftop”…Evil has a way to manifest, itself…this is the way Evil in our Electoral Process is manifested in our times!!!

  4. We urge PRRD to be dogged in the fight against corruption and the elimination of waste in governance through strengthening the institutions that fight corruption, adopting a truly zero tolerance approach to corruption and waste of public funds and more importantly, pass into law the offence of unexplained wealth in PHL and ensure that offenders are properly dealt with.

    The offence of unexplained wealth (possession of unexplained wealth) will penalize people for possessing wealth disproportionate to their known lawful sources of income if they cannot provide a satisfactory explanation for this.

  5. Is somebody reading my posts?

    According to the Manila Times, the BIR is opening an investigation that ‘will extend to his estranged wife, Patricia Paz, and the Divina Law Office headed by commercial lawyer Nilo Divina’.

    ‘The Divina Law Office is also in hot water,particularly University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law Dean,Nilo Divina,who allegedly deposited money to the bank accounts of the COMELEC chief.’

    Also, Luzon Development Bank and Smartmatic Corp., supplier of automated election machines,who allegedly gave commissions to Bautista through Divina’.

    Now that UST has a large portion of egg on it’s face, it will be interesting to see who is going to be first to sell everybody else down the river.

    Should I get the popcorn?

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