EXPOSE

Kabayan Party List Rep. Harry Roque claims vouchers from Smartmatic are among the documents he saw in the possession of the camp of Mrs. Patricia Bautista. “well ang mga nakita ko kasi doon sa dokumento  na hawak ng abugado may mga nakita akong mga voucehers kasama sa mga voucher lumalabas eh halagang natanggap galing sa smartmatic. nakita ko ito wednesday last week. madami eh kasi lumalabas roon nangungumisyon siya sa isang law office “

This as House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez was also open to the idea of invetsigating Bautista.

Alvarez said in an ambush interview, “ Karapatan ni Cong. Roque yan at kailangan naming i-process yun. Yun, kung yung asawa niya ay mag-file ng complaint ay wala kaming magagawa kundi i-proseso rin yun.”

Roque declined to name the law office but said he is calling for a congressional investigation. “kaya nga maghahain ako ng isang  resolution para magkaroon ng imbestigasyon dahil importante naman malaman natin kung  yung namumuno ng comelec eh talagang may bahid ang kaniyang integroudad dahil kung may bahid eh baka nabenta ang atingde mkrasya nung huling halalan”

Roque believes the Comelec Chairman Andy Bautista earns from “commissions.” “parang nakita ko mga kaso na hinahandle ng law office at meron talaga siyang kubra doon sa mga binabayad sa ng mga kiliente sa law office at isang lumalabas na kliyente ay smartmatic”

For Gabriela Party List, More than marital status, it is COMELEC’s integrity at stake with Bautista’s unexplained SALN

 

“It is the unexplained wealth and not the status of his marital relations that COMELEC Commissioner Andres Bautista should be explaining to and made accountable for by the public.”

 

This is according to Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Arlene Brosas following the reported acquisition of properties, several bank accounts by Baustista as reported by his wife Patricia Bautista.

 

“We are increasingly becoming wary that this issue will be reduced to a spat between spouses when it is in fact the integrity of the country’s poll body that is in fact at stake.”

 “We call for vigilance amid allegations of  corruption and demand that the issue be investigated in a conduct that is both impartial and transparent. Commissioner Bautista thoroughly explain and be made accountable for these glaring irregularities.”

Over the weekend, Mrs Bautista faced media to alleged that her estranged husband has ill gotten wealth. Before becoming Comelec Chairman, Bautista was also chairman of the PCGG which is in charge of recovering the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses.

Smartmatic the private contractor that supplied the automated election system for the 2010, 2013 and 2016 national elections.

PBA Party List Rep. Jericho Nograles for his part said, “It’s a very complicated issue. It touches on family, possible VAWC, possible unexplained wealth sources of income. I’d like to wait for the reaction of the Chair on the matter.”

Ako Bicol Party List Rep. Alfedo Garbin said, “I think they are covered by the Rule on Marital Privilege:  The COMELEC is a Constitutional Commission thus as Chairman, the removal of Andy BautisTa from the office shall only be by reason of Impeachment.”

Garbin cited the following rule:

VI. EXCEPTIONS: WHEN SPOUSES MAY TESTIFY AGAINST EACH OTHER

A. In a civil case filed by one against the other. Examples: cases of annulment, legal separation, support, declaration of mental incompetency, separation of property.

B. In a criminal case for a crime (i) committed by one against the other such as those  involving physical assault and violence; Violation of  RA 9262; economic abuse or (ii) against the direct ascendant or descendant of the other   

C. When the reason for the law has ceased. Where the marital and domestic relations are so strained that there is no more harmony to be preserved, nor peace and tranquility which maybe disturbed, the reasons based on such harmony and tranquility no longer apply. In such cases, the identity of interest disappears and the consequent danger of perjury based on identity of interest disappears. (The law ceases when the reason for the law ceases)

Roque disagreed, “I respectfully disagree w Cong Garbin. The privilege applies when a spouse does not want to testify. It will bot apply if a spouse volunteers to testify. In any case, covered na ata yan nung exception na ng strained relations. Inapplicable din siguro sa impeachment or legislative investigation”

1 Ang Edukasyon Rep. Salvador Belaro said, “Where is the impeachment complaint? The impeachment complaint, when filed, needs to have verifiable evidence and of course enough support in terms of votes for it to stand any chance of making it through the process.

From my point of view as a lawyer and former Integrated Bar of the Philippines Commissioner, there might be violations here on rules on evidence namely, 1) Client-Lawyer confidentiality rule and 2) Marital confidentiality rule.

Those documents presented by wife might  be entrusted to Chairman Bautista during his time as private practitioner. The documents referred to may belong to former law clients of Chairman Bautista.

Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat said, “Both parties can resort to legal mechanisms through our courts. If Chair Bautista, let him face the consequences. Let justice take its course. But i caution our colleagues not to be hasty in entertaining impeachment proceedings or congressional inquiries.  Likewise, i caution against allegations that might link this controversy to political issues like last year’s elections and current protest