Comelec chief's wife to testify in Bautista impeachment hearing

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 19 2017 05:17 PM

MANILA - The estranged wife of Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista will attend the poll chief's impeachment hearing at the House of Representatives on Wednesday to "attest to the truth."

In a press conference, Patricia Bautista said she would be attesting to the authenticity of the impeachment case filed by lawyer Ferdinand Topacio‏ and former Negros Oriental Rep. Jacinto Paras against her husband in August.

The complaint was based on her allegations that her husband had P1 billion in unexplained wealth. It also accused the Comelec chief of violating the Data Privacy Act when voters' personal date were leaked in 2016. 

"I am here to attest to the truth and to the validity of my affidavits attached to the complaint," she said. 

Asked if she would like to see her husband ousted, Bautista said: "Personally, I will rely on the goodwill and good faith of the congressmen. I also want to know the truth as many of you also do."

Speaking to reporters, Patricia Bautista said her camp feared that the impeachment complaint would be junked after House justice committee chair Reynaldo Umali pointed out its "flawed verification."

"If we are to go by the ruling sa President Duterte impeachment proceeding, and the 2nd complaint of (Chief Justice Maria Lourdes) Sereno, dismissal for insufficiency in form," said Umali.

Patricia Bautista, who has already shown documents on her husband's alleged unexplained wealth, asserted that accusations in the impeachment complaint are all true and that she has personal knowledge on the charges.

Kabayan Party-list Rep. Harry Roque, who endorsed the impeachment complaint against the poll chief, said the House panel should at least give the complainants a chance to amend the case if they find it insufficient in form. 

Roque said the complainant's camp has already filed a motion to admit a substitute verification that would comply with the House justice committee's requirements.

The impeachment complaint against the Comelec chair stemmed from allegations that he had misdeclared his wealth in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN).

The complainants also accused him of violating the Data Privacy Act when personal data of 55 million Filipino voters were leaked in 2016, allegedly compromising their security and identities.

Lawyer Manuelito Luna, who assisted the complainants, said the charges were anchored not only on Patricia Bautista's statements but also on certified copies of documents.

"We have hurdled the requirement of personal knowledge. Our complaint is not anchored solely on the disclosures of Mrs. Patricia Bautista," Luna said.

The Comelec chief earlier dismissed all his estranged wife's allegations as part of a "demolition job." -- report from Joyce Balancio, ABS-CBN News