Monday , June 18, 2018

Duterte confirms accepting Bautista's resignation

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte sees no reason to put Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Juan Andres Bautista on trial since the latter had already tendered his resignation before the Office of the President.

Duterte confirmed he already accepted the Comelec chief's resignation.

"I was surprised. I think it was the other day, he filed his resignation. I think I signed it because it would be better if he leaves," Duterte said in an interview with broadcaster Erwin Tulfo aired on state-owned PTV4 on Friday night.

"I don't know if you can still impeach him or not because by resigning, he has removed himself," he added.

Last Wednesday, the House of Representatives, by a vote of 137-75, overruled the dismissal of the impeachment complaint against Bautista, despite his announcement earlier that day that he will resign on December 31, 2017.

The impeachment complaint against Bautista was filed on August 23 by former Negros Oriental Representative Jacinto Paras and lawyer Ferdinand Topacio on the grounds of betrayal of public trust for his failure to address the hacking of Comelec website in March 2015; and improper disclosure of his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Networth.

Another ground for impeachment was obstruction of justice when the Comelec chairman cleared the personnel of the poll body's technology provider, Smartmatic, and the IT specialists of the electoral agency of any wrongdoing after they tweaked the script of a program during the canvassing of the results of the May 2016 elections.

The House committee on justice dismissed for insufficiency in form the complaint on September 20.

However, under Section 11, Article 3 of the Rules of Procedure in Impeachment Proceedings, more than the one-third threshold can override the justice panel's recommendation.

Bautista, in a statement on Wednesday, announced that he will be resigning by year-end to give more time to his family "more than ever."

Bautista said he believed it was the "right time" to step down since he served the Filipino people with "the best of [his] ability."

He was also grateful for the people who "never left" his side, despite the "hurtful, baseless, and malicious accusations" thrown against him.

"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," the Comelec chief said.

"This was not an easy decision. But my family, especially my children, need me now more than ever... I am thankful for the love, prayers, and support you have shown me most especially during my most challenging times," he added.

Malacañang received the copy of Bautista’s resignation on Wednesday afternoon.

Senators who will act as judges in the impeachment trial had mixed reactions on Bautista's resignation. Some call it a "waste of time" but some said they need proof that the poll chief was sincere in his intention to resign. (SunStar Philippines)