MANILA–A ranking House leader on Tuesday rejected calls for a cong-ressional probe into the alleged P1-billion unex-plained wealth of Commis-sion on Elections (Come-lec) Commissioner Jose Andres Bautista, stressing that an impeachment complaint would be the better course of action.
In a statement sent to reporters, House Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas branded as pointless the request for a congressional investigation by Kabayan party-list Rep. Harry Roque and Bautista’s estranged wife Patricia Paz to have him investigated for the alleged unexplained wealth.
“The House probes or investigates impeachable officials through the pro-cess of impeachment. Any other proceeding would result in redundancy, as any finding thereof would only be recommendatory,” the Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) stalwart said.
The House leader pointed out that if a cong-ressional inquiry finds sufficient ground to pro-ceed against such official, it would resort to impeach-ment proceedings.
“On the other hand, even if it exonerates such official, the House Commit-tee on Justice will not be bound by it as it is the only committee empowered by the Constitution to do so. The same holds true for any other entity for that matter,” Farinas explained.
On Monday, Roque filed House Resolution No. 1171 to investigate the “shocking revelations” hurled against Bautista by his estranged wife, Ma. Patricia Paz Bautista.
The party-list lawma-ker alleged that the revela-tions have raised serious questions about the integ-rity of the May 2016 natio-nal elections.
“Today, a scandal has rocked the Comelec in the wake of the public revela-tions by Ms. Patricia ‘Tish’ Paz Bautista that her husband Comelec Chair Jose Andres D. Bautista, has unexplained wealth amounting to nearly PHP1 billion worth, including assets and properties here and abroad that she re-cently discovered,” Roque said in his resolution.
Roque asked the House of Representatives’ committees on suffrage and good government to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation on allegations made by Paz Bautista against her husband.
As detailed in her affidavit to the National Bureau of Investigation, the alleged ill-gotten wealth of her husband that she just recently discovered inclu-ded several local and foreign bank accounts as well as several pieces of properties that were not declared in the statement of assets and liabilities of Bautista.
Roque said that Mrs. Bautista further alleged that she also has documentary proof that Commissioner Bautista received payoffs from the Divina Law Offices. PNA