THE SENATE committee on banks, financial institutions and currencies on Tuesday subpoenaed former Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairperson Andres D. Bautista for his failure anew to attend the committee’s inquiry on his alleged violations of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA).
The summons ordered Mr. Bautista to appear on the scheduled Feb. 12 hearing to answer his purported questionable transactions with Luzon Development Bank (LDB) amounting to P300 million.
If the former poll chief fails to attend, the Senate will hold him in contempt and move for his arrest, the subpoena indicated.
Senator Francis G. Escudero, who chairs the said committee, has also asked the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to provide the committee all travel information on Mr. Bautista since Aug. 1, 2017.
The committee has held two hearings since that time, but without Mr. Bautista. Tuesday’s hearing would have been the third, but it was later cancelled since Mr. Bautista was absent.
“The committee has consistently sent him invitations to all of the hearings we conducted but until today, he has not given any reasons for his absence. Not even a representative to act on his behalf,” Mr. Escudero said in a statement.
“We held him in his own words on the media in the past that he will appear and defend himself once invited but apparently he has been a consistent no-show,” he added.
Mr. Bautista’s alleged unexplained wealth surfaced last year after his estranged wife Patricia P. Bautista accused him of committing corrupt practices and amassing nearly P1 billion worth of bank accounts and real estate properties.
Mr. Bautista was impeached in October last year on the day he announced he was due to resign. His resignation has since mooted his impeachment. — Camille A. Aguinaldo