Friday, August 10, 2018

DLSU Professor fires the biggest question amid electoral fraud: 'Where is Andy Bautista?'





Combined photos of Professor Antonio Contreras (dlsu website) and Andy Bautista (philstar)


Yes, the biggest and most asked questions recently are ‘Where is Andy Bautista?’ ‘Why is he allowed to leave the country?’ and ‘has there been any effort made to locate and summon him?’

Even, the political analyst, Manila Times columnist and De La Salle University (DLSU) professor Antonio Contreras has the same questions pertaining to the former chairman of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

These questions are all related to the current electoral fraud controversies surrounding the Comelec and Smartmatic, that Bautista needs to shed light on.


Contreras, on his recent article in Manila Times noted that Bautista’s predecessor, Sixto Brillantes Jr. was even present during the hearings held by the Senate committee on electoral reforms, and by the joint congressional oversight committee (JCOC) on automated elections.

“But Andy Bautista was nowhere in sight.” The DLSU professor wrote.

“ It behooves us to ask if he was invited to attend. His absence, with no one in Congress even asking the question of where he is, paints a discomforting image, more so when one considers the magnitude of the shocking revelations made by lawyer Glenn Chong and other resource persons about election anomalies.” He continued. *

Andres Bautista living with his brother in the US/ photo taken in March 2018, per Tiglao's caption

The professor stressed out that really, Andy Bautista, is a person of interest, particularly because of the election-related violations that happened during his term as the Comelec chair, while Brillantes is also accountable to those committed during the 2010 elections.

With this, Contreras said that no one seems to have taken into consideration the importance of Bautista’s presence during the hearings.

If recalled, an impeachment complaint was filed by former congressman Jacinto Paras and lawyer Ferdinand Topacio against Bautista on August 23, 2017, he was accused of neglecting his duty that resulted to hacking of Comelec website in 2016, two months before the elections.

Furthermore, Bautista was also accused of obstructing justice for letting Marlon Garcia, the chief of the Smartmatic technical support team off the hook, who allegedly tweaked some script in the transparency server during the 2016 elections.

The former Comelec chair was also called on for his failure to properly disclose his statements of assets, liabilities and net worth SALN).

Paras and Topacio also accused Bautista of accepting referral fees from Smartmatic.

Though there are a lot of charges against Bautista, the House justice committee then junked the impeachment complaint after weeks of hearing, due to a technical reason, which was not sufficient in form because of its defective verification.*

“On October 11, 2017, Bautista wrote a letter of resignation to the President, but his intention was to make it effective only on December 31, 2017. Hours after Bautista submitted his conditional resignation, the House, in plenary, overturned the justice committee and impeached Bautista. The President verbally accepted Bautista’s resignation two days after on October 13, and made it official on October 23, but effective immediately.” Contreras wrote.

“When the House plenary impeached Bautista, it was in fact an affirmation of the presence of probable cause on the allegations made against him, almost all of which had a bearing on the conduct of the 2016 elections, either directly or tangentially.” He added.

The professor also pointed out that, this finding of probable cause on the allegations against him, almost all of it, had a bearing on the 2016 elections anomalies thus, it could not be extinguished by his mere resignation on October 11, one he wanted to take effectively on December 31 last year.

“Bautista, by his decision to resign effective December 31, could have been made answerable for the acts which the House plenary have found to be sufficient to impeach.” The professor said.

“But everyone seemed to have simply wanted Bautista to disappear.” He added, pointing out the Senate, unlike in the case of Sereno, did not make any noise.

“Bautista left the country quietly, and has not been heard of since.” Contreras said, again noting that no single government agency acted to secure the presence of Bautista to answer the allegations him, and to shed light on electoral anomalies and fraud.*