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Senators See Basis of Bongbong Marcos’ Protest as COMELEC Chair’s Probe Continues


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Elena Grace Flores

The Senate Committee on Banks’ inquiry into the ill-gotten wealth of COMELEC chairman Andres Bautista presses the Luzon Development Bank representative for STR report. Resource persons from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Anti-Money Laundering Council also attend the probe. Senator Francis Escudero leads the process in response to the resolution filed by Senators Panfilo Lacson and Tito Sotto. This is after his estranged wife Patricia Bautista’s revelations that support Bongbong Marcos’ electoral protest against Leni Robredo.

YouTube Video by;  Senate of the Philippines

[VIDEO]: Agenda: P.S. Res. No. 468 – Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA)

Suspicion Transaction Reports

The commission specifically cites violations of Sections 11, 20 and 21 of Republic Act 10173 or the Data Privacy Act. It is in dispensing the poll body’s duty as personal information controller. The NPC stresses that Bautista also violates several provisions of the same law. That penalizes accessing sensitive personal information due to negligence and imposes imprisonment of three to six years and a fine of P500,000 to P4 million. Senators Grace Poe, Francis Escudero, and Tito Sotto also insist that there’s an unusual trend his deposits but the LDB rep refuses to acknowledge such anomalies as per their internal process.

Comelec in Limbo

Commission of Elections Commissioner Rowena Guanzon in a separate interview said that she advises Bautista to take a leave of absence: “I was very candid with him. I told him to take a leave for your sake also, and for the sake of Comelec.” “Now we’re in limbo. Who is the head of agency? He is in the country, and he has not filed an official leave of absence or whatever, so Comelec is suffering,” she said. “The year 2018 is our preparation year for the 2019 elections, so it is concerning. Hopefully, our budget will not be reduced,” she said.

Disregard of Duties as per Protest

Lawyer Manuelito Luna for Rep. Paras’ Impeachment complaint bares that Bautista’s accountabilities for the data breach and the script tweak of the server during the 2016 elections constitute the betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution. They would submit to the House the NPC decision last December that finds Bautista liable for lack of appreciation for data protection. The commission has said that there was more than just the implementation of security measures. The NPC concludes that Bautista’s willful and intentional disregard of his duties as head of the agency is tantamount to gross negligence.

AWOL Status

Since the COMELEC Chair is on leave without proper notice, he is theoretically on AWOL status. This is again negligence on his part. That jeopardizes the upcoming 2019 election. Bongbong Marcos was right on the first part of his electoral protest so far after all. The previous election does not have the credibility needed fo publi satisfaction because of the various lapses that the COMELEC Chair allowed to happen.

Guanzon: I’ve asked Comelec chair Bautista to take a leave of absence

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