Escudero: Senate to continue probe on Bautista's questionable wealth

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 25) — Resigned Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Andy Bautista is not yet off the hook after Malacañang accepted his resignation.

While the impeachment case against him  has been terminated, Senate Committee on Banks Chairman Chiz Escudero said Wednesday they will continue the probe on Bautista's questionable wealth when session resumes in November.

READ: Citizen Bautista to face charges - wife's camp

Last August 23, the Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions, and Currencies began a probe on Bautista's alleged unexplained wealth.

This, after his estranged wife, Patricia, accused him of amassing ill-gotten wealth and having around P1 billion in his bank accounts.

As Senate resumes session next month, Escudero said the resigned Comelec Chairman might be invited to the probe's next hearing.

"Kung may humiling na miyembro ng kumite o sa mga authors kung hilingin yun hindi ako magdadalawang isip na imbitahan siya at kung di siya dadalo ay mag issue ng karampatang subpoena pero naniniwala naman ako na dadalo si Chairman Bautista kung siya'y imbitahan," he said.

[Translation: If a member of the committee or one of the authors ask for it I wouldn't hesitate to invite him -- and if he doesn't attend, I will issue a subpoena. However, we do believe that Chairman Bautista will attend if invited.]

Escudero, however, does not see the resigned Comelec Chairman's wife, Patricia being invited to avoid turning the hearing into a "teleserye."

Bautista has dismissed Patricia's allegations. During the Committee's first hearing on August 23, Senators failed to get much information on Bautista's bank transactions because of the provisions of the bank secrecy law.

READ: NBI: PCGG-seized firms made deposits in thrift bank tagged in Bautista wealth probe

The House Committee on Justice declared the impeachment case against Bautista "moot and academic" after President Rodrigo Duterte accepted his resignation on October 23.

Initially, Bautista was supposed to step down by the end of the year, however Duterte said his resignation would be effective immediately.

Bautista has been replaced by acting Comelec Chief Christian Robert Lim. With his resignation, Bautista no longer has immunity, and charges may be filed against him.

READ: New acting Comelec Chairman named

Shortly after Duterte approved Bautista's resignation, Patricia's lawyer, Atty. Lorna Kapunan said they were preparing charges against the resigned Comelec Chairman and his so-called "partners in crime."