Bautista, ex-Comelec chair, in US for medical treatment

by Joseph G. Lariosa

CHICAGO (JGL) – Former Philippine Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chair Andres D. Bautista is eager and anxious to go home to the Philippines. He wants to look after his four children, the youngest of them is eight years old. Bautista, 53, is also a former Chair of the Philippine Commission on Good Government (PCGG).

But doctors of Bautista had advised him against prolonged traveling that may cause “possible pulmonary embolism as etiology of pulmonary hypertension” that increases the risk of a fatal blot clot.

His older brother, Dr. Martin D. Bautista, 55, a gastroenterologist, furnished a health certificate to It noted that Andres is suffering from “secondary pulmonary hypertension” possibly due to obstructive sleep apnea who has been complaining of dyspnea, fatigue, and excessive daytime sleepiness.” The certificate was signed by Dr. Branislav Schnifferdecker of Oklahoma Heart Hospital Physicians.

According to Dr. Schnifferdecker, the former Comelec chair has preliminarily been assessed and treated for essential hypertension and hyperlipidemia. “His treatment is continuing. We recommend that he refrain from prolonged travel since there is a concern about possible pulmonary embolism as etiology of pulmonary hypertension,” he wrote.

Dr. Bautista rejected the possibility that his brother is in hiding from the Philippine Senate. He gave two reasons: First, he said, his brother has not received a subpoena to appear before the Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies chaired by Sen. Chiz Escudero. Second, due to his medical condition; his brother cannot travel to the Philippines.

“Any subpoena from the Senate would be unnecessary because his brother wants to go home as the interest of his children comes first,” he said. “When he came to the U.S. last November, I prevailed upon him (Andres) to seek medical attention because he was very symptomatic at that time.”

Escudero has cited the younger Bautista for contempt of court for non-appearance before his committee hearing. As a result, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. early last month issued a warrant of arrest to compel his appearance.

Dr. Bautista added if the Senate wants to issue his brother a subpoena, the Senate can send it to this reporter, who will, in turn, forward the document to Dr. Bautista, who assured the Senate that it is going to reach his brother.

The doctor blames partly Lorna Kapunan, the spokesman of his sister-in-law, Patricia, wife of Andres, for conspiring with Patricia in ransacking the stuff of his brother while away in an official mission to observe the November 2016 presidential elections in the United States.

“Patricia and Kapunan took “all his emails, all his checks, all his papers, all his bank accounts under lock and key,” Dr. Bautista said.

“Which is also why we could not immediately account for everything because they stole everything, including birth certificates, original papers that are so hard to document whatever was taken. It was a nightmare just to try to account for everything, including emails and a bullwhip (latigo) souvenir my brother got from India.”

Bautista added that his brother never stole a cent when he was chair of PCGG or Comelec. ”Joseph, I can look at you in your eye and tell you that we will account for every cent that my brother, my family have invested over a long amount of time,” he said.

He also said that when Andres was PCGG chair in 2010 his brother was successful in prosecuting Vilma Bautista (no relation to his family), the secretary of former First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos. She was found guilty of selling the paintings bought by Imelda with the use of Filipino taxpayers’ money during martial law.

Among others, Andres was accused by his wife of possessing PHP1-B (US$20-M) unexplained wealth. It is being investigated by the Senate. A separate plunder charge was filed by lawyer Eligio Mallari against him before the Ombudsman. According to Dr. Bautista, the Ombudsman is the venue of choice for his brother where he said Andres would rather present evidence to prove his innocence.

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