The Manila Times : Whereabouts of Bautista 'unknown'

By Jomar Canlas | The Manila Times

The whereabouts of former Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Juan Andres Bautista remains unknown four years after he stepped down from office.

The House of Representatives started an impeachment proceeding against Bautista in 2017 following allegations of unexplained wealth. Bautista stepped down in October of the same year before the proceeding was finished.

A warrant of arrest was recently issued against Bautista for election data privacy breach, the latest criminal charge against him brought before the Department of Justice (DoJ).

A Court of Appeals decision published by The Manila Times affirmed the National Privacy Commission ruling "on how the security breach in the Comelec database happened and recommended that the DoJ exercise its own prosecutorial functions against Chairman Bautista in accordance with Section 26 of Republic Act No. 10173."

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra refused to comment on any extradition plan against Bautista.

But a high-ranking National Bureau of Investigation official told The Manila Times on condition of anonymity that in case Bautista was in the United States, he could not be extradited because the crimes he was accused of were not covered by the Philippine-US Extradition Treaty.

The NBI official said the best thing the DoJ can do for now is cancel Bautista's passport and request for his deportation.

During the impeachment proceeding against Bautista, his estranged wife Patricia alleged that her husband has 40 bank accounts, had accepted commissions on referred cases, had ghost employees and indulged on unsanctioned trips.

Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento said he would check the status of pending cases against Bautista.