Thursday , June 21, 2018

Fariñas to scrutinize 'personal knowledge' of Bautista's impeach bid

THE personal knowledge of the complainants is paramount to determine if the impeachment complaint filed against Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista will flourish, House Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Fariñas stressed.

Using the revelation of Bautista's wife, Patricia, as one of the grounds, Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption General Counsel Ferdinand Topacio and former Negros Oriental representative Jacinto Paras on Wednesday filed an impeachment complaint against the poll chief.

The complainants said that they have obtained sworn statements from Patricia to back their corruption claims against Bautista.

Patricia has accused her husband of amassing at least a billion worth of assets, which she said could be "ill-gotten."

But Fariñas emphasized that anything less than "personal knowledge" is considered "hearsay."

"I haven't seen the complaint yet…[But] titignan ko rin [if] they (Paras and Topacio) have personal knowledge...[Even if Patricia Bautista has an affidavit attached], mahirap naman yun, hearsay na nga 'yun," Fariñas said.

Fariñas underscored the importance of the verification portion of an impeachment document, which states that complainants must have evidence of their "own personal knowledge and/or culled from authentic documents".

The House leader said that if he finds the complaint to be "okay," he will refer it immediately to the House justice panel.

However, Fariñas said the complaint will be tackled only after the end of all budget deliberations.

"Kapag nakita ko at nabasa ko na may urgency naman at talagang okay naman yung complaint, then I could refer it immediately para at least makapag-set na ng date yung committee…[and it may be tackled] after the budget process siguro," he said. (SunStar Philippines)