Palace hands off on Bautista impeachment

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An immediate resignation by Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista could have avoided an impeachment vote, a ranking lawmaker said Wednesday.

On Wednesday morning, Bautista said in his social media accounts he would resign by the end of the year.

He added that the Senate impeachment proceedings will be aborted soon after Bautista steps down.

"I suspected it when I heard that the Speaker will vote in the negative so I was already expecting that", he said.

Jing Caparas (second from left) says he has proof of anomalies int he PCGG during Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista's time.

"After his successor is named, we look forward to a smooth transition and preparations for Barangay and SK (Sangguniang Kabataan) Elections next year, the midterm polls, and if possible, BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law) and Charter Change plebiscites in 2019", he added. It was not an easy decision.

He and Patricia have four children.

"It is not a resignation letter".

"The Dec. 31 date is not cast in stone...it aims to give the President enough time to make the transition (for my resignation) smooth and orderly", Bautista said during an interview.

"I can not come to the Senate Impeachment Court with a weak case", he added.

"There is no ex-deal. That is already obvious", he said.

"In the end, his decision was motivated by his desire to protect his children from the debilitating consequences arising from his family being in the vortex of an injurious public controversy. God bless Chairman Andy Bautista!" he added.

This developed as Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon voiced misgivings that the legislative's priority agenda, topped by the passage of the proposed 2018 national budget and the tax-reform package, could be derailed by Bautista's impeachment trial.

The Umali panel last month dismissed the Paras-Topacio complaint for insufficiency in form for being "defective".

"I believe that his resignation is due to his love for his family".

"It will mean more time for Chairman Andy Bautista to bond with his children".

Several senators said they will just wait for the official transmittal of the House impeachment complaint against Bautista and will decide if they will proceed to the convening of the Senate as an impeachment court. "For one, it will enable the Comelec to act as one (all Commissioners, Directors and rank-and-file employees) and purposely fulfill its mandate under the 1987 Constitution", said PPCRV chairperson and former Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento.

Comelec Commissioner Arthur Lim said, "It was a gutsy decision".

"I had a feeling he would resign but I was surprised that he announced his intention to resign today", said Guanzon.

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