Just hours after the announcement of Commission on Elections chairman Andres Bautista’s resignation, he was impeached by the House of Representatives.
A total of 137 lawmakers voted for Bautista’s impeachment while 75 voted in favor of the Comelec chief and two legislators abstained.
Accused of amassing ill-gotten wealth and receiving “referral fees” from Smartmatic, he is said to be the first poll body to be impeached
Previously, the House Committee on Justice reported that impeachment complaint against Bautista filed by former Negros Oriental Representative Jacinto Paras and lawyer Ferdinand Topacio last August were insufficient in form, thus, the case did not push through.
Lawmakers rejected the report from the committee and decided to vote instead.
According to reports (from House insiders), Congress leaders allegedly gave Bautista until 4 in the afternoon, Wednesday, to immediately resign but the legislators were provoked by Bautista’s announcement – he would resign effective by the end of this year.
The said action from the poll chief prompted the House members to gather and moved to impeach him instead.
Due to more than one-third of the 292 lawmakers voted to impeach Bautista and also with the plenary vote to reject the House Committee Report submitted earlier, he was reasonably impeached.
Meanwhile, when asked for his statement, Bautista said that what happened to him was “unfortunate” but will “abide by the Constitution”.
“I acknowledge that all members of the House of Representatives are entitled to their own opinion. While it may be an unnecessary move since I already tendered my resignation to the President today effective end of the year to ensure a smooth transition, I will abide by the Constitution and the relevant rules regarding the impeachment process,” Bautista said in a statement.
The Articles of impeachment is expected to be sent to the Senate – which will serve as an impeachment court for the trial.
FROM THE LAWMAKERS
Among the lawmakers who endorsed the impeachment complaint, Cebu Rep Gwendolyn Gracia said that what happed was a “reversal of fortunes.”
“From lonely two, this afternoon, we increased it to 137,” she said, adding that accusations against the poll chief were “very serious” but now, he “will be given his opportunity to answer such charges.”
According to Garcia, the resignation of Bautista was only posted on social media and he did not submit it to President Rodrigo Duterte, which made her doubt his intention to really quit, also considering the effective date indicated on the resignation letter.
“December pa, eh pa’no kung [He said he would resign by December, what if] after his prayers and discernment he would say I would not resign. (H)e thought na madadala n’ya ‘yong kongresista [He thought he could take congressmen for a ride] with a very lame claim to resignation, the 137 congressmen saw through his game,” Garcia said.
“Don’t mess with us, congressmen and women. Pag meron kang sasabihin, gawin mo [If you would say something, do it]. They saw through your game,” she added.
Another lawmaker Rep. Harry Roque shares the same thought as Garcia, noting that Bautista wanted to outwit them.
“Tingin ko talaga iisahan kami, walang kasiguruhan ang resignation” he said.