Senate to subpoena Ex-Comelec Chair Bautista for skipping committee proceedings

Former Commission on Elections (COMELEC) chairman Andres Bautista may be subpoenaed if he continues to ignore invitations to attend inquest proceedings at the Senate.

“I’d rather wait for the subpoena to be served on chair Bautista unless he voluntarily attends. And, hopefully, he will make true to his word to so execute a waiver and to allow full investigation and inquiry to proceed,” Senator Francis Escudero said during a Senate hearing on Wednesday.

Escudero chairs the Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions, and Currencies probing into the alleged ill-gotten wealth of Bautista as revealed by his estranged wife, Patricia.

Under investigation are accounts of Bautista and his family in Luzon Development Bank, which supposedly amount to 70 percent of the total assets of the bank.

The Senate is now waiting for Bautista and his co-depositors to sign a bank secrecy waiver that opens the accounts to scrutiny.

“How can it be fully investigated when he does not secure the waiver of his co-depositors? Since they entrusted him what that money, I would presume they would entrust him, too, when he signs a waiver for them to follow suit and sign a waiver as well,” Escudero said.

In the same hearing, Escudero asked lawyer Lorna Kapunan—the legal counsel of Patricia Bautista—to help locate the former COMELEC chairman and find out where he now lives after failing to attend the Senate proceedings.

The Senate panel sent invitations to three known addresses of Andres Bautista, but only one was received, Escudero noted.

“I don’t know what’s going on, frankly,” the senator said.