Bautista quits as Comelec chief

MANILA. Commission on Elections Chair Juan Andres Bautista

Bautista responded to the House vote soon after the results came out. The House needs a one-third vote of its members to impeach an official - in this case, 98.

Fariñas pushed the motion to declare the impeachment complaint "insufficient in form" in the committee on justice last month.

Bautista is being 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.

"Such ouster has already been preempted by Bautista's resignation, whose effective date will definitely occur before the termination of the impeachment process both in the House and in the Senate", he said.

In such cases, he said, the plenary's rejection of the recommendation for dismissal leads to the preparation of the Articles of Impeachment by the justice panel "because the very substance of the complaint is effectively upheld by the requisite number of one-third of the members".

ALBAY Representative Edcel Lagman said Thursday that it was "premature" to require the House committee on justice to prepare the articles of impeachment against Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Juan Andres Bautista considering that there is no determination yet that the complaint filed is sufficient in form and substance.

Senator Panfilo Lacson said that Bautista's resignation is prospective and not yet in effect and once the impeachment complaint is transmitted to the Senate and his resignation is not yet in effect, the Senate has no option but to proceed with the trial of the Comelec Chief.

"It is with deep sadness that I am informing you about my decision to resign as Chair of the Commission [on Elections] by the end of the year", Bautista wrote in a letter he posted on Twitter.

Escudero said that even if the Comelec chief resigns, he will proceed with his probe into the alleged questionable 35 bank accounts of Bautista in Luzon Development Bank. President Duterte himself has also threatened to have Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales impeached.

House sources told reporters that the chamber's leaders were piqued by Bautista's announcement of his yearend resignation, since they expected him to hand in an irrevocable resignation effective immediately.

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But senators said Bautista is not yet off the hook until he submits proof that he was serious about quitting his job at the Comelec.

Paras on Thursday cited a Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) report showing seven "anomalies" during Bautista's term in the agency.

On why his resignation was not irrevocable, he said, "Out of respect to the appointing authority, I didn't use that word".

"The deliberations on the proposed 2018 national budget and the TRAIN [Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act] will have to take a backseat once the Senate begins the impeachment trial against Chairman Andy Bautista", Drilon said. He refused to answer a question on whether committee chairman Rep. Reynaldo Umali of Mindoro Oriental should resign.

"The only goal of impeachment is to remove".

He also said the Senate has not received a "certified true copy" of Bautista's resignation.

Pangilinan, on the contrary, thinks there is no need for the Senate to convene as an impeachment court since Bautista had expressed his resignation. "God bless Chairman Andy Bautista!" he added.

"Congress shall decide what to do, you know, with this impeachment in view of his resignation", Abella said in a press briefing yesterday.

Paras said, "He said he will resign, but that remains to be seen".

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