UST law dean denies payoffs to Comelec chief

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 11 2017 09:10 PM | Updated as of Aug 11 2017 09:25 PM

MANILA- University of Santo Tomas (UST) Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina has denied giving payoffs to Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista for allegedly referring clients to his law firm, DivinaLaw.

In a statement Thursday, Divina said the controversy on Bautista's alleged unexplained wealth has "unfairly attempted to drag my name through the mire."

"I assure you that I have not been involved in any illegal or unethical activity and all my dealings are fair and above-board," he said in a statement posted on the UST Civil Law student council's Facebook page.

 

Divina added that he has taken legal action to protect his name. He did not disclose details.

The Comelec chief's estranged wife Patricia Bautista has claimed that she discovered bank and real property documents, and several passbooks under her husband's name that were not included in his 2016 statement of assets, liabilities and net worth.

She said her husband had undeclared assets amounting to P1 billion. 

Patricia also claimed that Divina had issued payslips and checks to her husband. She cited an alleged "commission sheet" dated January 2016 that bears the names of lawyers from Divina's law firm, which counts among its clients Smartmatic, Comelec's contractor in the automated elections. 

The poll chief, however, dismissed his wife's allegations, saying checks from Divina were payment for properties that the lawyer bought from the Bautistas.

"I can categorically tell you I have not received any single centavo from Smartmatic or from Atty. Divina in respect to Smartmatic," the poll chief said.