Bautista welcomes junking of impeachment complaint

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista hailed the decision of the House justice committee to junk the impeachment complaint against him because it was insufficient in form.

"I welcome the decision of the House of Representatives Committee on Justice to dismiss the impeachment complaint filed against me," Bautista said in a statement on Wednesday, September 20.

"I would like to thank the Committee and the House leadership for upholding the rule of law and for their objectivity and fairness. This proves to be a significant step in clearing my name after the malicious accusations hurled against me," the elections chief added.

He stressed that the allegations against him by his estranged wife, Patricia, "are fabricated and baseless." (READ: The making of a scandal: Comelec chair Andy vs Patricia Bautista)

"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," Bautista said.

Bautista earlier said he was considering resigning from the Comelec because of the exposé made against him by his wife.

On Wednesday, Bautista said resigning and taking a leave of absence from the Comelec "are options that are always available" despite the junking of the impeachment complaint. (READ: Patricia Bautista 'disappointed but undeterred' by impeachment dismissal)

'Continuing discerning process'

But did the junking of the impeachment complaint lower the likelihood that he would quit?

Answering this question, Bautista laughed and said in jest, "Kakapanalo pa lang, ikaw naman, resignation kaagad eh." (I just won and look at that, you're already talking of resignation.)

Bautista later explained that he is engaged in a "continuing discerning process."

The Comelec chairman said: "Hindi natin alam sa buhay, kung ano'ng mangyayari. Baka si North Korea, hindi natin alam kung ano ang gagawin niyan bukas. So hayaan na lang natin ang proseso. But ako naman, basta, business as usual as far as we're concerned."

(We don't know what will happen in life. We don't even know what North Korea will do tomorrow. So let's leave it to the process. But for me, we're business as usual as far as we're concerned.)

Members of the House justice committee on Wednesday voted 26-2 to junk the impeachment complaint against Bautista.

The complaint accused Bautista of allegedly failing to declare all his assets and amassing ill-gotten wealth, based on accusations made by his wife. (READ: Comelec's Bautista sues wife for robbery, extortion)

Petitioners will have to wait an entire year before any impeachment complaint can be filed again against Bautista. (READ: FAST FACTS: How does impeachment work?– Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.

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