DOJ orders PCGG to probe poll chief's 'unexplained wealth'

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 23 2017 02:27 PM | Updated as of Aug 23 2017 02:35 PM

MANILA - Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has ordered the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) to probe the alleged unexplained wealth of Comelec chairman Andy Bautista.

Among the things that Aguirre wants probed are the alleged abuse of resources of PCGG-sequestered and surrendered entities during Bautista's chairmanship and the allegations of ill-gotten wealth.

He also wants a probe on the Commission on Audit (COA) report on more than P100 million unliquidated cash disbursements from the Philippine National Bank dollar escrow accounts of the PCGG.

Also part of the probe is the recovery and forfeiture of assets under the name of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos and their cronies that "unexplainably" remain unsequestered.

Bautista's alleged unexplained wealth hit news headlines recently after his estranged wife, Patricia, revealed he amassed over P1-billion in assets but declared only P176.3 million in his 2016 statement of assets, liabilities and net worth.

Aguirre had earlier ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to probe Bautista's alleged unexplained wealth, including possible violations of the Anti-Money Laundering Act committed by the embattled poll chief.

In Department Order No. 551, Aguirre also directed the PCGG to closely coordinate with the NBI, COA, and the DOJ in the probe, and authorized the PCGG "to prosecute cases, when necessary," against Bautista.

The cases may be pursued when Bautista is no longer Comelec chairman, since as poll chief he remains an impeachable officer.

However, in previous pronouncements Aguirre said the findings of ongoing investigations against Bautista may be used as part of evidence in the event an impeachment complaint is filed against him.