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Eyebrows raised over Bautista bank stash

SENATOR Francis Escudero said Wednesday 60 to 70 percent of Luzon Development Bank’s money were deposits to the accounts controlled by resigned Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista. 

“He needs to answer some questions and explain,” Escudero said.

“Luzon Development Bank is not that big, but I’m not belittling it. Its assets are estimated at P5 billion.”

Escudero, chairman of the Senate committee on banks and institutions, said the first problem they saw before the hearing was, if the accounts of  Bautista and the PCGG-sequestered bank were combined, that would make up 60 to 70 percent of the deposits at Luzon Development Bank.

He said Bautista should answer why government-sequestered assets were placed in that bank.

Senator Francis Escudero

“That’s a big question. The NBI also said during the hearing that all government assets should be deposited in a government bank,” Escudero said.

“It’s clear that in Metro Manila, there are many branches of Development Bank of the Philippines or LandBank, and the assets should have been deposited there.”

He said the sequestered money was deposited with Luzon Development Bank when Bautista was with the PCGG but he removed it when he left the agency. 

Luzon Development Bank came under fire after Bautista’s estranged wife, Patricia Paz Bautista, claimed that the former Comelec chief maintained more than 30 bank accounts with the thrift bank with a total balance of P329 million.

Despite Bautista’s resignation, Escudero said, his committee was inclined to continue its probe on his alleged ill-gotten wealth. 

In a previous Senate hearing, the National Bureau of Investigation’s Anti-Fraud Division said the sequestered companies managed by the Presidential Commission on Good Government, with Bautista as chairman, also had accounts with Luzon Development Bank.

The accounts were opened in 2012 and closed “sometime” in 2016. Bautista assumed the post of Comelec chairman in 2015.

Topics: Senator Francis Escudero , Andres Bautista , Luzon Development Bank

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