MANILA - A Senate panel probing the unexplained wealth of elections chief Andy Bautista is inviting the Commission on Elections chairman to its next hearing to shed light on his bank accounts.
Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero, chair of the committee on banks, financial institutions and currencies, also asked Bautista to submit a bank waiver so the hearings can proceed without any legal stumbling blocks.
"If the depositor waives his rights under the secrecy of bank deposits, it will untie the tongues of the officials of the Luzon Development Bank (LDB) and relieve them from any suits whatsoever as well," he said.
"Malaking kagaangan din para sa kumite na tumitingin dito, gayundin siguro para sa NBI at sa AMLC kung magkakaroon ng ganoong uri ng waiver," he added.
Escudero pointed out that the bank deposits and the passbooks of Bautista have been shown on television, and this is a good venue for the poll chief to clear his name.
The poll chief has denied his wife's claim that he did not declare P1 billion in unexplained wealth, saying his wife is seeking a P620 million settlement.
Sen. Grace Poe, meanwhile, said that if the poll chief is not hiding anything, he will not hesitate to attend the probe and submit a waiver.
An LDB counsel, meanwhile, said they are willing to talk about the deposits once they get written permission.
"If the depositors concerned gave the written permission as required by law, the bank is more than willing to talk about the deposits," said Atty. Francis Lim, external counsel for LDB.
The lawyer recommended that in cases of joint accounts, it's not just Bautista but his co-depositors too who must submit a waiver.