House panel junks impeach rap vs poll chief

MANILA (Updated) -- The House committee on justice decided on Wednesday, September 20, to dismiss the impeachment complaint filed against Commission on Elections Chairman Juan Andres Bautista after its members found it insufficient in form.

In a vote of 26-2, members of the committee said the complaint failed to satisfy the standard they set during their previous impeachment proceedings on President Rodrigo Duterte and Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

The impeachment rap was filed by former lawmaker Jacinto Paras and lawyer Ferdinand Topacio last August 23.

Only Representatives Harry Roque and Gwendolyn Garcia, the endorsers, voted to approve the complaint.

The panel said the complaint was defective since the complainant had no personal knowledge of Bautista's alleged offenses.

Before voting on the sufficiency of the complaint's form, Roque and Garcia tried to modify the verification document as a remedy to its defect, but panel members opposed the move.

The complaint was mostly based on Patricia Bautista's accusations against her estranged husband. She said the poll chief accumulated ill-gotten wealth using his positions in government.

Bautista took to Twitter to welcome the decision of the House justice panel to dismiss the impeachment complaint filed against him.

"I welcome the decision of the House of Representatives committee on justice to dismiss the impeachment complaint filed against me," he said. "I would like to thank the Committee and the House leadership for upholding the rule of law and for their objectivity and fairness."

Bautista said the lawmakers' decision to junk the impeachment complaint is a first step to clear his name.

"This proves to be a significant step in clearing my name after the malicious accusations hurled against me. As I have always maintained, the allegations are fabricated and baseless," he added.

Bautista said that with the impeachment complaint being junked, the work continues at the Comelec.

"With the dismissal of the complaint, it is business as usual at the Commission on Elections. We, at the Comelec, will continue to perform our mandate in respect of the credible conduct of Philippine elections," he added. (SunStar Philippines)
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