Category: SALN

andy agonizes, to resign or not to resign

now that the impeachment process has started rolling in the House despite the majority leader’ objections, and now that his fellow commissioners have publicly asked him to resign or take a leave so he can attend to his troubles with family, SALN, atbp., comelec chief andy bautista has to decide soon, and he says he will, in the next few days.

In a radio interview, Bautista admitted that he has reached a crossroad in his life where [he] is now weighing the interests of his family, the Comelec, democracy, and the 2016 elections.

clearly, family is not the primary consideration or he would have resigned already. so it must be the 2016 elections.  the grapevine has always alleged that it was rigged, that comelec and smartmatic connived to make LP win (mar, leni, the senate slate) except that in mar’s case, duterte was so far ahead, naging imposible nang talunin, which of course puts leni’s win, and our so-called democracy, into question, along with: how many votes did every one get ba talaga?

andy bautista has always denied it: no evidence or proof of cheating daw.  if that is so, then what is it about the comelec and democracy and 2016 that weighs on his mind more heavily than family?

can it be na totoo ang chismis, there was cheating?  which could mean that andy has been hoping that the beneficiaries of the cheating would could move heaven and earth to foil an impeachment attempt dahil sasabit din sila?  and / or maybe andy has been hoping to strike a deal with the duterte admin — leave me be and i will make sure you win the plebiscite on charter change and federalism?  is that too wild a thought?

alas for andy, an impeachment complaint was filed august 23 by former negros oriental rep jacinto paras and lawyer ferdinand topacio.

Apart from alleged misdeclaration in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth, the complainants also cited as ground for the criminal liability of Bautista the hacking of the Comelec website that led to the leakage of voters’ database as found by the National Privacy Commission.

They accused him of culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust in the complaint, which was immediately endorsed by three representatives… Gwen Garcia of Cebu, Abraham Tolentino of Cavite and Harry Roque of Kabayan.

the very next day, august 24, the house of reps’ secretary-general transmitted the complaint to the office of the speaker who has 10 session days to refer it to the rules committee that has three session days to refer it to the justice committee that has sole jurisdiction over impeachment cases.    

majority leader rudy fariñas, however, is being difficult.  puro hearsay lang daw, absent the personal knowledge of the complainants.

Fariñas underscored the importance of the verification portion of an impeachment document, which states that complainants must have evidence of their “own personal knowledge and/or culled from authentic documents”.

also, kailangan daw munang tapusin ng House ang budget deliberations, which he says wlll be around mid-september pa.  hmmm.  back in the time of corona, fariñas was part of a minority that didn’t sign the impeachment complaint.  today, it is said that it is he, not speaker alvarez, who calls the shots in the House.  read manolo quezon’s A Congress of cats

Today, the point person in the House is Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, arguably one of the most powerful holders of that position in living memory. This is because Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, even in his previous stint as a representative, was never a major mover or shaker and, aside from his closeness to President Duterte, lacks a track record of leadership or camaraderie, or a party franchise and independent means to quickly assert personal dominance in the House (in contrast to his predecessors and successors who were active party men before they assumed the speakership, like Manuel Villar Jr. who compensated for his lack of political ties with an immense personal fortune and by taking over the Nacionalista Party franchise).

in the year 2000 it took just 11 days from the chavit exposé that tagged erap as a jueteng lord (oct 7) for the house of reps to file a motion to impeach (oct 18).  in less than a month (nov 13) senate prez manny villar, upon obtaining the minimum one-third (73 of 218) votes, declared erap impeached and ordered the complaint transmitted to the senate without delay.  trial started dec 7 and abruptlly ended jan 17 2001.

in 2011 it took just six days since the PNoy speech (dec 6) savaging chief justice renato corona (seated just two meters away) for being beholden to former prez gma and for his foiled attempt to allow her to leave the country against the new admin’s wishes.  dec 12 iloilo rep niel tupas of the justice committee presented an impeachment complaint that a few hours later was signed by 188 of 284 reps and transmitted at once to the senate.  the trial began jan 16, ended may 29  2012.

in 2017 it’s taken 16 days for tish’s exposé to elicit an impeachment complaint. despite fariñas.  quick enough, considering that so much else is going on.  feels like a confluence of events coming up, and then again maybe not, yet.  the only thing i’m sure of is that we’re being asked to multi-task, to be vigilant on multiple fronts.  it’s a test.

on andy’s SALN

this is being shared around on facebook, first posted (as far as i can tell) on willie buyson villarama’s wall for public consumption.  the author bienvenido c. gonzalez is a SALN advocate who closely monitored the corona impeachment trial.

Benny C. Gonzalez
MBA, CPA, BSC, BA, UN Fellow

Thank you for asking for my take on the Bautista versus Bautista case. I want to limit the scope of my discussion to the SALN aspects of the issue where I think I can contribute the most. Good SALN analysis demands three paradigm shifts:

1. Good SALN analysis should at the end of the day either exonerate or convict the filer under scrutiny.

2. Good SALN analysis is focused on HOW the Networth was accumulated rather than WHAT it is at the end of every year.

3. Good SALN analysis defines and limits as legitimate and legal entries only TAXED EVIDENCED TRANSACTIONS.

De-politicking this case:

• The COMELEC Chairman is not a first time SALN filer with only his December 2016 SALN to show but has filed several others in his current capacity and from other past government appointment(s). As such, his declared Assets, Liabilities and Networth as of December 2016 should not be a given (assumed the truth) nor should it be the only figures against which the wife/whistleblower’s allegations be compared with. This is where most people especially the media will miss out on.

• Rather than being a given, his 2016 SALN should be X, what SALN analysis MUST solve for that either gives him a clean bill of health as an honest and transparent public servant or condemned him as someone who may have gotten away with ill-gotten wealth in his previous or current appointment(s).

• If red flags have already been raised at this stage, he should be asked to explain in accounting terms how the specific transactions causing these alarm bells are actually legitimate and legal movements of his Networth.

• When the explanations are questionable themselves, then appropriate charges should be filed against him for impeachment. Again, this is where most people especially the media will miss out on. Please note that this impeachment case can and will stand alone even without the USE of the whistleblower’s allegations.

• If red flags are detected during his earlier tenure(s), then it would be a strong case (in aid of legislation) for appointees to be asked to bare their past SALNs to public scrutiny before they can be eligible for reappointment in another capacity. In fact, I have a NO SALN, NO COC/APPOINTMENT advocacy.

• If he gets a clean bill of health after the analyses of ALL his past SALN filings, it will also be time to compare his December 2016 SALN with the whistleblower allegations.

• When his explanations are found unreasonable or unbelievable (because he consistently beats Gorge Soros in currency trading, for example), AMLAC should be asked to assist in the case build-up. A case for seizure and garnishment should then be filed with the Ombudsman.

Some observations:

• Knowing their husbands, NO wife should agree on any settlement with her husband based on his SALN. SALNs are based on historical costs while settlements should always be based on current fair market values.

• Forex gains, especially from offshore accounts are normally untaxed thus exposing the family involved to further BIR audits and assessments.

• The co-mingling of family funds in a filer’s SALN must be traceable to a PRIOR DISTINGUISHABLE investment fund carried as an asset with a contra-liability set up for that purpose. It is highly questionable if it had never been set up before the accusations. In fact, from an accounting stand point, this is what every SALN filer should do if s/he has a similar situation. Ab initio, the ownership of the capital and fruits are transparent and identifiable.

• The absence of these entries and accounts in his SALN would reveal at the very least the lack of good accounting and financial advice which may turn out to be very costly for him.