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Arrest order sought on former poll chief


By Angie M. Rosales

A Senate panel indicated it had reached the limit of its patience on former Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista for ignoring calls for his presence in a Senate hearing on the poll official’s alleged hidden wealth that prompted Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero to seek yesterday a warrant of arrest on Bautista.
Escudero sought the arrest warrant to be issued by Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III.
The move was taken by Escudero, chairman of the Senate committee on banks, financial institutions and currencies, after Bautista was cited in contempt of the committee due to his defiance in responding to its summons and air his side on the issue on his alleged undisclosed assets, first exposed by his estranged wife Patricia.
Pimentel, however, said it may be useless to issue such order as such warrant cannot be enforced by them if Bautista is indeed out of the cuntry.

“I will talk with the chairman why is it needed since I think he (Bautista) is out of the country. So the warrant of arrest will be useless. We can’t send anybody, wherever abroad, to arrest him,” Pimentel said.
It was the fourth public hearing on the issue hounding Bautista and a subpoena had been by the committee after extending two invitations to him.
His non-appearance prompted Escudero to cite him in contempt him and request for the issuance of an arrest warrant.
Escudero, before suspending the hearing, directed his staff to prepare the corresponding papers requesting the Senate president to issue the warrant for Bautista’s arrest.
“Should he arrive at anytime, he will be delivered to the Senate, so ordered,” he was quoted saying in the hearing.
Pimentel said even if they issue an arrest warrant, it may not be enforced if Bautista will write a letter to the committee informing that he’s returning to the country and will submit himself to Senate probers immediately after.
Pimentel said he will talk first to Escudero to ascertain the circumstances on Bautista’s departure.
“The grounds (for arrest warrant) are defiance. Is it really defiance or it is really something outside of his control since he is out of the country,” he explained.
Bautista denies receiving invite
Bautista, in an apparent last-minute attempt to dodge such penalty from the committee, told Escudero in a letter dated Feb. 7, that he has not actually been in receipt on any invitation since he has been abroad since Nov. last year.
“I understand from news reports that a subpoena has been issued because of my non-appearance in the hearing (last Jan. 23). In this regard, I respectfully ask that the subpoena be recalled since I never received the invitation,” Bautista said.
In explaining his absence, the former poll body executive said he has been out of the country in hope of exploring professional opportunities and seek treatment to some of his medical ailments.
Escudero, however, said such letter by Bautista is just a ruse and has no good faith in it.
“He asked for the subpoena to be recalled and to instead answer in writing. He is a former chairman of a constitutional commission; he has no legal and formal address here in the country. That is not normal,” the senator said.
“At the very least, he should have given us a forwarding address where we can communicate with him but so far he has not done that. That is the very opposite of what he had said in the past that he will squarely face any and all allegations lodged against him in any forum,” Escudero added.
Clearly, the senator said, Bautista is trying to stifle the proceedings.
“I have requested the Senate to issue a warrant for Chairman Bautista so he can be arrested anytime when he arrives in the country. The committee is compelled to do this after his obvious defiance of the Senate orders. Unless he expunges himself, and the only way he can is if he issues a waiver on bank secrecy together with his siblings who are his co-depositors,” Escudero said.
The committee has also invited Bautista’s sibling, Susan Afan and Martin Bautista, but the two were also a no-show.
Afan wrote the committee saying that she has prior commitments and that as a private citizen, she has no knowledge of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) and begged to be excluded from the proceedings.
Escudero also did not give into her request as well as he instructed the committee secretary for the issuance of another invitation to her.
“Her excuse is not acceptable that she has nothing to do with this. If she does not confirm attendance, a subpoena henceforth be issued against Ms. Afan,” he said.



  • Rico

    This is all B S...if and when they send an invitation isnt it supposed to be signed received?..somebody is trying to delay the hearing until the peoples interest in the issues of comelec has waned....yung mga nanalo na di inaasahan ng tao ay isa na dyan...dollars and baka makalkal pa

    Rico Tuesday, 13 February 2018 13:41 Comment Link
  • j

    But the Senate is barking at the wrong tree: HIDDEN WEALTH . Bautista MUST be investigated of possible election fraud charges.

    j Tuesday, 13 February 2018 05:22 Comment Link

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