EMBATTLED Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Juan Andres Bautista no longer functions as “full-time” head of the poll body, resulting in work backlogs that need his immediate attention.
Commissioner Rowena Guanzon recently disclosed that documents needed to be signed by Bautista are filing up because he could no longer focus on his job as a result of a personal family problem and an impending impeachment trial over allegations by his estranged wife that he has amassed more than P1 billion in ill-gotten wealth while in government service.
“Mabagal na ang galaw ng documents sa office niya dahil hindi naman siya full-time doon. Two en banc meetings absent siya [The movement of documents in his office has slow down because he is no longer full-time there. He was absent in two en banc meetings],” Guanzon told The Manila Times.
She said aside from Bautista’s failure to sign a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with the National Printing Office (NPO) that led to the stoppage of the printing of ballots for the coming barangay (village) and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK or Youth Council) elections, there were many other important matters that remain pending because of the inaction of the poll chief.
Those elections have been postponed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Among the important matters, Guanzon claimed, were pending resolved election cases that have not been signed to date and some election suppliers have not been paid.
“Looks like he won’t resign. He said ‘stay and fight’ is an option for him. Pero hindi naman niya nagagampanan ang trabaho niya sa Comelec [But he no longer does his job in the Comelec],” she said.
Bautista earlier said he wanted more time before coming up with a decision as he was still in the process of discerning things, and waiting for some signs from the Almighty.
“All I’m asking is a little patience, a little time for me to decide after my discernment,” he added.
Bautista gave his assurance that as long as he is chairman of the Comelec, he would continue to function and do his job well as expected of him.
“What others are saying that I can’t perform my job anymore is not true. I was absent only for a day and I filed a leave of absence for that. The following day, I attended the House budget hearing, together with my six other commissioners, and we were successful,” the poll chief said.
“I’ve always believe nobody is irreplaceable in any organization. I’m not clinging to my post. I’m getting a lot of advice and I’m weighing all of these, there is a lot of interests to consider and I’m discerning all of these,” Bautista added.