MANILA, Philippines – Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres "Andy" Bautista is "confident" he has properly declared his properties in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN), his brother Martin said.
In an interview with ANC Early Edition on Monday, August 14, Martin Bautista said the Comelec chief and brother Andy assured him that his SALN "is going to coincide with whatever I told them [the public]."
"He is that confident that he will not misdeclare," he said. "And that's why I'm here, to back him up."
Andy's wife, Patricia Paz "Tish" Bautista, is accusing the poll chief of not declaring assets worth nearly P1 billion in his SALN.
Martin said that the Bautista siblings are professionals, and they "worked hard" for what they have.
However, if the allegations are true, Martin said he has advised his brother to "kill himself," referring to the Japanese ritual of seppuku, a form of suicide by disembowelment.
"Sinabi ko sa kapatid ko iyon, 'Alam mo, corruption, masama iyan, di ba?' So I told him, 'Alam mo, kung totoo ito, magpakamatay ka'," said the elder Bautista.
(I told my brother, "You know corruption is bad, right?" So I told him, "You know, if this is true, kill yourself.")
Andy brushed off the allegations, recounted Martin, who added, "I believe my brother."
"Wala kaming tinatago. Walang ninakaw ang kapatid ko," the elder Bautista emphasized. (We are not hiding anything. My brother did not steal anything.)
For instance, Martin explained that as of 2000, he and Andy had $1.7 million and P8 million in joint investments. "This happened long before my brother entered government service, and before he married Tish," he clarified.
He said he can show expired bank certificates "which originated in 1998, which matured in 2008 under various banks – among them, ABN Amro, Chinatrust, Asiatrust – banks which no longer exist" as proof.
As for the alleged 32 passbooks from Luzon Development Bank (LDB), Martin said in a mix of Filipino and English that he does not know which of them have expired or have been redeemed "because we don't have it" after those were "taken from my brother, removed under lock and key" by Patricia's camp.
"Not every passbook is an active passbook," he added. But Martin said he has no idea about the amount of money stored nor the exact number of accounts in LDB. He also said that the owners of LDB are their friends.
He said his alleged condominium unit in San Francisco, California, USA, is "co-owned" with their sister, Susan. Martin noted, though, "I don't know what [Andy's] part is."
He added that this controversy "should not taint the elections." As for rumors that Vice President Leni Robredo won "because of Andy", Martin said it's a "complete lie."
Asked about Andy facing the possibility of impeachment, Martin said the authorities "will find nothing." He then recalled telling his brother to face impeachment.
Martin said they welcome the investigations into the issue by agencies like the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). "Please, kayo na po ang pumasok (be the ones to intervene). The media is not the venue to ventilate these issues."
The elder Bautista then criticized Patricia for presenting her evidence to the media instead of going to authorities.
"You don't report that to a newspaper or the media. Let [Justice] Secretary Aguirre determine. Let the DOJ determine. Let BIR determine," he said. "That's what we're wishing for: complete, unadulterated transparency."
Nonetheless, Martin said he will "never badmouth" her sister-in-law. "We've never had any conflict," he said. "She's the mother of my 4 nephews, and she's always been good."
But he said that personally, it hurt him when Patricia told Andy that she "found a soulmate." – Rappler.com
Michael Bueza is a researcher and data curator under Rappler's Research Team. He works on data about elections, governance, and the budget. He also follows the Philippine pro wrestling scene and the WWE. Michael is also part of the Laffler Talk podcast trio.