MANILA/LAS VEGAS – The Court of Appeals (CA) has affirmed the findings of the National Privacy Commission (NPC) that former Commission on Elections chairman Juan Andres Bautista violated Republic 10173 or the “Data Privacy of 2012” in connection with the April 2016 data breach that placed the personal information of millions of voters at risk.
The NPC recommended the prosecution of Bautista, who has fled to the United States and was last seen with friends in Las Vegas, for the crime of accessing sensitive personal information due to negligence.
The exact whereabouts of Bautista remains unknown four years after he stepped down from office and was also seen with his doctor brother, Dr. Martin Bautista, in Oklahoma in the United States. Dr. Bautista defended the former Comelec chief on allegations of unexplained illegal wealth by his estranged wife, Patricia Santos Bautista.
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.
The NPC also urged the Department of Justice (DoJ) to investigate him for possible violation of the cybercrime law “on the finding that there was an unauthorized exfiltration of data in connection with this data breach from the Comelec web server on March 23, 2016, through a computer with an IP address of 126.96.36.199, registered with the National Bureau of Investigation.”
Bautista fled to the US in November 2017, a few weeks after resigning from his post. He was impeached by the House of Representatives amid allegations of unexplained wealth after his estranged wife, Patricia, disclosed that he accepted commissions on referred cases, had ghost employees and went on questionable trips.
Bautista, who also served as Chairman of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) denied the charges, also has a standing arrest warrant from the Senate.
The CA ruling issued in March was penned by Justice Pedro Corales and was concurred by Justices Fernanda Lampas-Peralta and Alfredo Ampuan.