July 19, 2018, 4:00 am
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Problems in the Comelec

WHEN it rains, it pours. 

Elections chairman Andres Bautista’s inability to repair his marital troubles early on has taken on a bigger and wicked character. Now he is accused by his wife of profiting from his two government positions (PCGG chairman, and Comelec chairman), his ill-gotten wealth estimated by his critic-wife to total P1 billion at least, lying in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth, and by extension, engaging in election-related corruption.

Mrs. Patricia Bautista’s legal action emanates from a long drawn-out negotiation with her husband about how to divide their conjugal assets, as they formalize their separation.

By coming out with pieces of evidence such as bank passbooks, financial statements and documents from a law office that purport to show Chairman Andy’s hidden funds, Mrs. Bautista through her lawyers alleged that she wanted to set a good example to their four children, aged 16 and younger. She said she wanted to do the nation a favor by exposing one big, corrupt official.

In another interview, Mrs. Bautista said she only wanted half of her husband’s clean and legitimate assets. That is what the law says, and she concedes that she can very easily get that from the courts. She said she went public with their problems, as far as to ask the assistance of President Duterte, because she does not want to have anything to do with her husband’s alleged illicit income.

On the part of the Comelec chairman, he will necessarily face various kinds of investigations, such as in the Senate, the House of Representatives, the NBI, the Anti-Money Laundering Council, etc. This is considerable trouble for one who holds the position of Comelec chairman, whose daily schedule of office and field work is always full. 

Bautista said he is prepared for anything and everything. He also issued a categorical, all-encompassing denial about the claims made by his wife and her lawyers.

Chairman Bautista explained that he earned his money the hard and honest way, working as a lawyer in New York and Hong Kong before settling in the Philippines where he became president of a big hotel chain and later, chairman of two government commissions. Bautista and his brothers and sisters also invested in other legitimate businesses that made money. Their financial and other dealings can stand the most rigorous scrutiny, he assured.

Whichever way this case takes, it will expectedly be bloody scandalous, with national officials and media all taking their fair share of the limelight.

We just hope that in the cacophony of lurid and shocking details, the probers would not lose focus that the objective here is the campaign for good governance.
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