Press Release
March 19, 2018


Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies Chairman Sen. Chiz Escudero said the arrest warrant against former Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista stays pending his submission of a sworn affidavit answering all the allegations lodged against him before the panel.

This was after Bautista's counsel, Atty. Anacleto Diaz, who attended the hearing and represented Bautista on Monday, said the ex-poll chief is begging the committee to recall the order of arrest issued against him.

Escudero earlier set conditions for the lifting the warrant of arrest against the former Comelec chief. "Hiniling ko ang dalawang bagay bago ma-lift yung warrant: either mag-submit siya ng bank waiver or mag-submit ng detalyadong affidavit na sinasagot ang mga tanong laban sa kaniya".

In today's hearing, the senator said the affidavit should be submitted to the Senate panel on March 26 and only after that can the committee issue a recommendation lifting of the warrant of arrest.

However, Escudero said this will only be possible if the Senate President and the majority of the senators who voted in favor of the warrant agree to recall it.

"Kapag na-submit yung affidavit, ibig sabihin nagco-cooperate, sumasagot ng mga katanungan sa pamamagitan ng abogado si Chairman Bautista. Ire-rekomenda ko na i-lift yung warrant of arrest na in-issue laban sa kanya pero may prosesong kailangan pagdaanan iyon. Kailangan suportahan iyon ng mayorya ng mga senador na pumayag sa pag-issue ng warrant at kailangan pirmahan ni Senator Pimentel ang pag-lift ng warrant," Escudero said.

Instead of executing a waiver of the secrecy of bank deposits for his 33 bank accounts at the Luzon Development Bank (LDB), which are the subject of the committee's probe, Bautista implored that he be allowed to submit a detailed affidavit on all the questions on his alleged unexplained wealth and possible violation of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA).

The committee chairman said he is expecting that Bautista will be addressing all the issues and questions raised during the previous committee hearings, as the committee has furnished them a copy of all the transcripts of the past hearings.

"Kailangan i-evaluate yung affidavit para matimbang. Kung may kulang na mga kasagutan hihilingin pa naming iyon sa mga susunod na pagdinig. Kung wala na handa na kaming maglabas ng committee report," Escudero said.

The Committee on Banks, Financial institutions and Currencies has ordered the arrest of Bautista after he failed to attend the previous hearings, the last of which was last February 12, even after the committee has already issued a subpoena against him.

Bautista's counsel maintained that his client's inability to appear in the previous hearing "is not due to any willful, knowing or deliberate act and/or omission on his part to disobey the subpoena issued by the committee or to ignore, evade, skip or snub the proceedings."

Escudero said they are not compelling Bautista to personally appear before the committee since he is currently out of the country, but he is anticipating his full cooperation in the succeeding proceedings through his counsel.

"Hindi naman sya pwedeng pwersahin dahil hindi naman ito pagdinig kung saan sya ay isang akusado na required humarap sa isang pagdinig kaugnay ng alegasyon na may ginawa syang paglabag sa batas. Ang importante nagko-cooperate na siya sa committee hindi tulad dati," he said.

Moreover, Diaz said Bautista was not able to submit the affidavit during today's hearing because he is still reviewing the documents and files "stolen" by his estranged wife Patricia Bautista that were recently returned to him by writ of habeas data issued by the Makati City Regional Trial Court (RTC).

The Anti-Money Laundering Council is also conducting its own separate investigation on the matter.

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