Bautista impeachment complaint dismissed in House

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A PANEL at the House of Representatives dismissed the impeachment complaint filed against Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Juan Andres Bautista after it determined that it was “not sufficient in form and substance.”

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Twenty-six members of the justice committee voted against and two for the complaint filed by former Rep. Jacinto Paras of Negros Oriental and lawyer Ferdinand Topacio. They accused Bautista of betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution.

Representatives Harry Roque and Gwendolyn Garcia of Kabayan and Cebu endorsed the complaint.

Rep. Abraham Tolentino of Cavite abstained during the division of the House.

Under House rules, an impeachment complaint has to be “sufficient in form and substance” before it could be elevated to the next level — to determine probable cause.

According to the complaint, Bautista allegedly neglected his duty as Comelec chairman following a hacking incident that revealed voters’ personal information.

Bautista’s estranged wife Patricia also claimed that her husband had at least P1 billion in ill-gotten wealth deposited in 35 accounts at the Luzon Development Bank.

“We need to get to the truth of the allegations because it affects all of us who participated in the electoral exercise. It’s the integrity of our democracy that’s at stake,” Roque said at the start of the proceedings. RALPH EDWIN U. VILLANUEVA

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