DOJ orders PCGG to probe Bautista’s stint as head of wealth-recovery agency

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MANILA – Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre has formally ordered the Presidential Commission on Good Government to investigate allegations that Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista may have amassed ill-gotten wealth during his stint as head of the PCGG.

The DOJ listed Bautista’s acts when he was PCGG chairman which merited an investigation. Among these are:

1) Incurring over 100,000 in unliquidated cash disbursements from the PCGG’s dollar escrow accounts in the Philippine National Bank, per a report of the Commission on Audit;

2) Alleged abuse of the resources of PCGG’s sequestered and surrendered entities, including multimillion pesos worth of gift checks and gift cards that Bautista and his staff received, as well as those given out to certain members of media.

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3) Allegations of ill-gotten wealth, kickbacks and commissions supposedly received by Bautista, including commissions from law firms associated with him.

4) The civil and criminal cases handled by PCGG which were thrown out by courts, compromised or became subject of questionable decisions during his chairmanship.

5) The recovery and forfeiture of assets of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos and their cronies that until now have not been sequestered.

In his order disclosed to media on Wednesday, Aguirre told the PCGG to work closely with the National Bureau of Investigation, Commission on Audit and the Department of Justice.

Bautista has been under fire the past three weeks, after his estranged wife Patricia Paz Bautista revealed documents indicating he may have amassed unexplained wealth during his stints in government. He has denied this, explaining the multimillion-peso bank deposits as part of his family’s co-mingled assets, since he – with his background as international lawyer and investment expert – was more knowledgeable in handling these.

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