MANILA, Philippines (4th UPDATE) – Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista announced on Wednesday, October 11, that he is resigning from his post by the end of the year.
"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," Bautista said in a letter to the Comelec.
"After much prayer and discernment, I believe that this is the right time to step down given the postponement of the barangay and SK elections. This was not an easy decision. But my family, especially my children, need me now more than ever," Bautista said.
Bautista on Wednesday said he has already filed a resignation letter in Malacañang. He said his resignation is effective by December 31, 2017.
"Gusto ko ring bigyan ng panahon ang ating Pangulo ng papalit sa akin," Bautista said. (I also want to give our President time to choose my successor.)
By the time he steps down on December 31, 2017, Bautista would have spent two years and 8 months as Comelec chair.
Bautista's term was supposed to expire on February 2, 2022. This means Bautista is cutting his term by at least 4 years.
(Read the full text of Bautista's letter below)
In his letter about his resignation, Bautista also pointed out that the 2016 elections, which happened under his watch, "was hailed by independent and foreign observers as the best managed and most credible in our electoral history."
"I am thankful for the love, prayers, and support you have shown me, most especially during my most challenging times. Amid the hurtful, baseless, and malicious accusations hurled against me, most of you never left my side," Bautista said.
Asked in Wednesday's forum if he ever regrets joining the Comelec, Bautista said no. "Because of the employees that I met all over the Philippines."
Bautista tendered his resignation nearly a week after the House justice committee, by a vote of 19-2, formally junked an impeachment complaint against him.
Earlier, all 6 Comelec commissioners pushed Bautista to either take a leave or resign, as they said Bautista "can no longer effectively lead the Commission."
This comes as Bautista faces a feud over money with his estranged wife, Patricia, whom he sued for robbery and extortion.