Corruption at Comelec?
HOTSPOT - Mocha Uson (The Philippine Star) - August 7, 2017 - 4:00pm

Throughout the years, it’s an open secret that elections in our country can be manipulated by dirty politicians to make the result favorable to them. We’ve heard of stories like politicians giving money to the people, striking fear to the citizens, and precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines being rigged to control the result of the election. Just like in the last election, we all know of the rumor that President Rodrigo Duterte originally got 21 million votes instead of 16 million and there is also the possibility that the result of the election, particularly for the vice-presidency, has been cheated. As much as these dirty politicians must be held liable for their actions, I believe that Commission on Election must also be investigated for possible corruption. Being an independent agency tasked to ensure an untarnished and honest election, it seems that they are still having trouble in executing their very basic duty. Also, with the recent allegations of the wife of Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista that he has hundreds of millions of pesos in unexplained wealth, one question must be asked: If true, where did it all come from?

Why is this allegation so controversial and why is it important for us to watch closely how it unfolds? It’s because Chairman Bautista holds the highest position in Commission on Election, an agency that is known for monitoring all elections and ensuring a fair and clean election. Imagine the possibilities of having a corrupt chairman at this agency; it could mean that he can be used by dirty politicians for their own personal agenda which would result in having politicians getting positions they desire not because they were voted by the people but because they hold the Comelec chief by the neck. If we just disregard the allegations against Chairman Bautista and it turns out to be true, then we would eventually have a bigger problem. If we allow corruption, no matter how small it is, it will reverberate and will result to more corruption all over different agencies of the government. President Duterte himself is fighting against corruption to clean and bring the people the true change they deserve and the true “tuwid na daan.”

Yesterday, Patricia Paz Bautista exposed in an interview that the Comelec chief has an ill-gotten wealth amounting to nearly P1 billion. This recent involvement of Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista in an anomalous allegation involving his supposed ill-gotten wealth could show that there is indeed a corruption at Comelec. In an affidavit that they submitted to National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Patricia Bautista stated that “certain information and documents that would show that Andy might have had, or currently has, misdealing and corrupt practices while in government service.” Even if the statement of Mrs. Bautista is still just an allegation, it still calls for an investigation especially because the one that’s being charged is an active government official of an agency that monitors the election. It is important that we get to the truth so that we can take necessary steps to curb corruption in the government, being one of the things that President Duterte truly abhors. If the allegation is also true, then the people must also know whether the corrupt practices was related to Comelec Chair Bautista’s position; and, if yes, to what extent did the Comelec chief used his power for personal gain.

In response to his wife’s allegations Chairman Bautista denied it and chose to reveal that he is a victim of a failed marriage and infidelity, further claiming that their marriage trouble has just been used for politics. However, like what I’ve been saying before, if there really is no case of corruption, then investigating his alleged ill-gotten wealth shouldn’t be a problem for the Comelec chief. For now, the truth is hazy and only time and thorough investigation will reveal and separate fact from fiction. But if one thing is clear, from this point forward, the public will be closely monitoring this case and all investigations related to it. In the end, we will know if this is just a husband and wife’s fight gone worse or if this will reveal corrupt practices at Comelec.

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