House votes to impeach Elections Commission chairman

The Philippine House of Representatives voted Wednesday to impeach chairman of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Andres Bautista hours after he announced his resignation amid scandal casued by a marital dispute, The Manila Times Online reported on Thursday(Oct 12).

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said the chamber was forced to impeach Bautista as his resignation will not take effect until yearend.

He told radio station dzMM that there would be no impeachment if Bautista had tendered an irrevocable resignation.

On Wednesday, 137 lawmakers voted “no” to reject the House Justice Committee’s decision to drop the impeachment complaint against Bautista against 75 who voted “yes” to the decision.

Kabayan party-list representative Harry Roque said Bautista could be planning to withdraw his resignation later on, making himself immune from impeachment for one year based on impeachment rules.

Bautista was 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 sever that broadcast the 2016 election results, and hiding nearly P1 billion in ill-gotten weath as alleged by his estranged wife, Patricia Paz.

He was also accused of having accepted commissions from the law form of UST law dean who had served as counsel for Smartmatic.

Bautista said Wednesday that he was saddened by the House vote, but would abide by the Constitution and the rules on impeachment.

As for the effective date of his resignation, he said he wanted to give President Duterte time to choose a new Comelec chief and have a smooth transition.

Senate majority leader Vicente Sotto 3rd assured that the Senate was prepared to proceed with the impeachment even during the recess.