PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte said he saw no reason to put Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Juan Andres Bautista on trial, saying that “by resigning, he has removed himself” from office.
Duterte made the statement as he announced that he has accepted Bautista’s resignation.
In a television interview on Friday, the President said he was surprised that the House of Representatives impeached Bautista after the Comelec chief had quit his post.
“Nag-taka ako, I think it was the other day, meron siyang resignation. Mukhang pinirmahan ko kasi mas mabuti ‘yung mas maalis siya diyan (I was surprised. I think it was the other day, he filed his resignation. I think I signed it because it would be better if he leaves),” Duterte said in an interview aired on state-owned PTV4 on Friday night.
“I don’t know if you can still impeach him or not because by resigning, he has removed himself,” he added.
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives, by a vote of 137-75, overruled the dismissal of the impeachment complaint against Bautista, despite his announcement earlier that day that he would resign on December 31, 2017.
Bautista, in a statement, said he believed it was the “right time” to step down since he served the Filipino people to “the best of [his]ability.”
He was also grateful for the people who “never left” his side, despite the “hurtful, baseless, and malicious accusations” thrown against him.
“It is with deep sadness that I am informing you about my decision to resign as the chair of the Commission on Elections by the end of the year,” the Comelec chief said.
“This was not an easy decision. But my family, especially my children, need me now more than ever… I am thankful for the love, prayers, and support you have shown me most especially during my most challenging times,” he added.
Malacañang received the copy of Bautista’s resignation on Wednesday afternoon.