Bautista saddened by House nod on impeach rap

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Bautista saddened by House nod on impeach rap

THE House of Representatives yesterday impeached Andres Bautista hours after he announced his resignation as chairman of the Commission on Elections, effective end of the year.

"Well, Congress shall decide what to do, you know, with this impeachment in view of his resignation", Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a press briefing, adding that the Palace acknowledges Bautista's services.

Lawmakers implied that a deal was behind the decision of the House Committee on Justice to drop the impeachment complaint against Bautista last month.

The plenary late afternoon voted to override the justice panel's decision after Rep. Reynaldo Umali (PDP-Laban, Oriental Mindoro), panel chair, sponsored House Resolution No. 1397 under Committee Report No. 429.

But Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said the House decision was premature because the overturned committee ruling was only on "sufficiency in form" and not on "substance".

"From the bottom of my heart, thank you, my Comelec family", Bautista said.

Bautista is accused of neglect of duty that resulted in the hacking of voters' personal information, allowing automated election machine provider Smartmatic to tinker with the script of the "transparency" server that broadcast the 2016 election results, and hiding almost P1 billion in ill-gotten wealth as alleged by his estranged wife, Patricia Paz.

"After his successor is named, we look forward to a smooth transition and preparations for Barangay and SK (Sangguniang Kabataan) Elections next year, the midterm polls, and if possible, BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law) and Charter Change plebiscites in 2019", he added.

"This was not an easy decision. But my family, especially children, need me now more than ever".

He and Patricia have four children.

Bautista also believed that he was able to do his job well as head of the Comelec or more than two years, as he cited the commendations they received for the successful conduct of the May 2016 national and local polls.

Plagued by official and personal problems, the chief of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday announced his resignation from his position with effect on Dec.31 this year.

"The approximate 10-week period is meant to provide you Mr. President, sufficient time to choose my replacement as well as ensure a smooth and orderly transition within the Commission", he said.

"I want to give him ample time to find my replacement".

But Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III and opposition Senator Francis Pangilinan said there is no need for a trial against Bautista if he will step down willingly from his post.

"It would also be hard if one is suddenly put in a position like this".

Secretary Salvador Panelo, the chief presidential legal counsel, described Bautista's move as an "honourable exit" mainly due to the marital dispute with his wife. He said he asked the poll chief to talk to his wife since her allegations are "serious". "God bless Chairman Andy Bautista!" he added.

Alvarez said the justice committee was ordered to prepare the articles of impeachment against Bautista. At this point, my feeling is I should give more time and importance to my family.

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