Bautista to face Senate probe despite resignation, says Escudero

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 11 2017 04:01 PM | Updated as of Oct 11 2017 05:08 PM

MANILA - Outgoing Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Andres Bautista is not yet off the hook despite announcing his resignation Wednesday, according to Sen. Francis Escudero.

In a statement, Escudero, chair of the Senate committee on banks, financial institutions and currencies, said the panel would still investigate Bautista's alleged unexplained wealth. 

"As soon as the house dismisses the impeachment complaint formally, yes I will [move to investigate the accusations against Bautista]," he said. 

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III agreed with Escudero, saying even if Bautista has announced his resignation, he can still be subjected to investigation as a former public official.

His resignation will take effect in December. 

Bautista's estranged wife Patricia earlier accused the official of amassing at least P1 billion in unexplained wealth based on documents and cash she found in their house.

She also accused her husband of receiving commissions for referring companies such as Smartmatic, contractor in the automated elections, to a law firm owned by his close friend, lawyer Nilo Divina. 

Divina, the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Civil Law dean, also denied this claim. 

An impeachment case based on Patricia's allegations was dismissed by the House justice committee for "insufficiency in form."

Bautista has denied all allegations, saying he is ready to face any investigation.

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said resigning was the right move as Bautista could now take care of his problems without being accused of using his office to influence the direction of the case.

"He is no longer facing an impeachment complaint and, therefore, it cannot be said that he is avoiding impeachment. It is the best thing that he can do so that after he quits office, he can take care of his problems," he said. 

-- Report from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News