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House Votes To Proceed Impeachment Of Comelec Chief Hours After Resignation

The House of Representatives on Wednesday, October 11, voted to proceed with the impeachment proceedings against Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Juan Andres “Andy” Bautista for culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust.

During Wednesday’s session, 137 House members voted to override the recommendation of the House committee on justice to dismiss the complaint against Bautista, while 75 voted to adopt the recommendation of the panel, which found the complaint insufficient in form.

Under House Rules, a vote of at least one-third is necessary to override the panel’s recommendation.

After the voting, the justice committee chaired by Oriental Mindoro Representative Reynaldo Umali has been tasked to prepare the articles of impeachment to be endorsed to the Senate for trial.

The justice panel’s recommendation was overturned after Deputy Speaker Gwendolyn Garcia and Surigao del Norte Representative Robert Ace Barbers objected to the recommendation of the House committee on justice.

Garcia is one of the lawmakers who endorsed in the impeachment complaint filed by former Negros Oriental Representatives Jacinto Paras and lawyers Ferdinand Topacio and Manuelito Luna.

Antipolo Representative Romeo Acop and Albay Representative Edcel Lagman manifested their support for the adoption of the panel report.

Last September 20, the House panel declared the impeachment complaint against Bautista for culpable violation of the constitution and betrayal of public trust over allegations of ill-gotten wealth insufficient in form.

Umali earlier said the complaint filed is not consistent with the House’ requirement that it must be based on authentic records.

The articles of impeachment are expected to reach the Senate when sessions resume in November.

Two-thirds of the Senate members are needed to officially remove Bautista from his post.

Earlier in the day, Bautista announced that he is resigning from his post effective December 31, 2017.

“It is with deep sadness that I am informing you about my decision to resign as the chair of the Commission on Elections by the end of the year,” Bautista said in a letter to the Comelec. 

Bautista cited the need to prioritize his family “more than ever.”

“After much prayer and discernment, I believe that this is the right time to step down given the postponement of the barangay and SK [Sangguniang Kabataan] elections. This was not an easy decision. But my family, especially my children, need me now more than ever,” Bautista said.

Bautista’s resignation has drawn mixed reactions from officials in the executive and legislative branches of the government.

Bautista’s wife, Patricia, earlier accused him of being involved in corruption while in government service, noting that Bautista has several undeclared properties in his 2016 Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Networth.

In a press conference that followed after the session, House Deputy Speaker Garcia told Bautista not to mess with Congress.

“This message, I’d like to put across to Mr. Bautista: don’t mess with us congressmen and women. Kapag meron kang sasabihin gawin mo,” Garcia said at a press conference after the plenary session.

Garcia was referring to Bautista’s announcement earlier in the day that he will resign from Comelec by end of the year.

Kabayan Representative Harry Roque, for his part, said believed that Bautista’s pronouncement was made to trick the congressmen to believing that he will really resign and the impeachment will only be mooted.

Garcia and Roque both endorsed the impeachment complaint.

“Una, he prayed for discernment. Sabi n’ya after discernment hindi na siya magre-resign tapos biglaang magre-resign siya. Walang period kung kailan siya magre-resign, the he filed a resignation letter through the Comelec family, and even saying effective December,” said Garcia.

Garcia said she believed the 137 congressmen saw the poll chief’s game.

“The 137 congressmen saw through it all, saw through his game because if the committee report had not been overturned or overridden by at least one third that would set him free of any impeachment complaint filed for a full year,” said Garcia.

Roque meanwhile said resignation is always an option for Bautista even with the House’s decision.

If he resigns, the trial at the Senate will not push through but this will also mean that criminal complaints can now be filed against him.

Former Negros Oriental Representative Jacinto Paras, the complainant, said that he will pursue filing criminal charges against Bautista even if he resigns from post.

“Perhaps, if we will just forget it, we are answerable to the people. There’s somebody here who has been accused of corruption then we will not pursue it since he was removed from office. I think it’s worth to proceed with any criminal complaint against him,” Paras said.

Watch the video report by TV Patrol:

Source: SunStar Philippines
House Votes To Proceed Impeachment Of Comelec Chief Hours After Resignation House Votes To Proceed Impeachment Of Comelec Chief Hours After Resignation Reviewed by YenAnonymous on October 12, 2017 Rating: 5

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