House impeaches Comelec chairman

Thursday, October 12, 2017

MANILA – The House of Representatives voted to impeach Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Andres Bautista yesterday.

The House vote overturned a justice committee resolution that earlier dismissed an impeachment complaint against Bautista.

Deputy Speaker Gwendolyn Garcia moved to reject the committee’s resolution, arguing that the complaint must be discussed before the Senate as an impeachment court.

Rep. Robert Ace Barbers (Surigao del Norte, 2nd District) agreed with Garcia’s motion.

A total of 137 House members voted to reject the resolution, 75 voted to adopt while two abstained.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez rejected the adoption of the resolution. He believed that the allegations against Bautista were “serious.”

Earlier yesterday, Bautista submitted a resignation letter to President Rodrigo Duterte.

He said he will leave Comelec by the end of the year to rest and spend more time with his family.

“This was not an easy decision,” Bautista said in a statement he read before Comelec employees at their headquarters yesterday. “But my family, especially my children, need me now more than ever.”

Bautista is stepping down as the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections were moved to May next year.

“After much prayer and discernment, I believe it is the right time to step down,” he said.

Bautista said he believes he has “served our Commission well and our Filipino people to the best of his ability,” as proven by the success of the May 2016 automated national elections.

He also thanked Comelec employees for their love, prayer and support.

“Amid the hurtful, baseless and malicious accusations hurled against me, most of you never left my side,” said Bautista, who has been heading the poll body for more than two years. “From the bottom of my heart, thank you, my Comelec family.”

Asked what he would do after serving the commission, he said in a forum in Manila hours after meeting with Comelec personnel, “Magpahinga and spend quality with my family.”

Bautista said he chose to stay until the end of the year to give Duterte time to choose a replacement and allow a smooth transition.

Before then President Benigno Aquino III appointed him to the Comelec in May 2015, Bautista served as head of the Presidential Commission on Good Government in 2010.

Last week, the House of Representatives justice committee affirmed its decision to dismiss the impeachment complaint filed against him that stemmed from the allegations of his estranged wife, Patricia Paz, that he had ill-gotten wealth and was involved in corrupt activities. (PNA)