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NBI bares deeper ties: Firms seized by PCGG transferred accounts to LDB during Andy Bautista’s stint

 

Is the embattled poll chief once a moneymaker for this thrift bank?

It seems that there are even deeper ties between Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista and the Luzon Development Bank beyond millions of deposits under his name.

Lawyer Minerva Retanal of the National Bureau of Investigation said during a Senate inquiry on Wednesday, Aug. 23 that they have discovered that sequestered companies under the watch of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) opted to transfer their bank assets under the LDB sometime between 2012-2016.

Based on the NBI’s historical analysis of bank accounts, Retanal said the surrendered companies opted to transfer their balances from other banks to the LDB around the time when Bautista was head of the anti-graft agency before he was appointed by former President Noynoy Aquino to Comelec in 2015.

“We had to make a financial analysis on an historical basis. He (Bautista)entered the government in 2010, then we have to review transactions particular to that,” Retanal told the Senate committee, noting that they saw sequential bank account numbers under LDB.

Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero said this is a matter that deserves to be probed as well, as it should be considered as best practice to keep deposits in a state-owned bank despite changes in leadership.

“It’s common practice na kapag bago yung mayor o yung chairman, nalilipat yung depository bank. At the end of the day, it should be in the interest of government to put it in one — usually a government bank — instead of giving any chair or any agency the leeway to decide which bank to deposit the monies of that GOCC or sequestered company to a bank of their choice,” Escudero said during the hearing.

Bautista had earlier admitted that he preferred to set up accounts under the LDB given his close ties with the Limcaocos who own the bank. Did he trust them so much that he would even place government-owned funds under the thrift bank’s watch as well?

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