House plenary to deliberate on Bautista impeachment complaint despite resignation

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THE plenary deliberations on the impeachment complaint against Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Juan Andres Bautista will push through at the House of Representatives, despite the poll official’s announcement of his resignation on Wednesday, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said.

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“Okay naman [yung resignation niya], kanyang prerogative yun pero nakaschedule mamaya yung committee report ng justice dismissing the impeachment complaint. Pagbobotohan yan, despite the resignation. Nakaschedule talaga,” Alvarez told reporters.

(His resignation is okay because it is his prerogative but we have a scheduled plenary deliberation on the justice committee report dismissing the impeachment complaint. It will be deliberated on despite the resignation.)

“Kailangan kasi yung committee report aprubahan ng plenary yung dismissal ng impeachment complaint. Ngayon kapagka halimbawa hindi inaprubahan ng plenary yung committee report then aakyat na sa impeachment trial yun, impeached na sya,”

(The committee report on the dismissal of the impeachment complaint should be approved in the plenary. If it is not approved, then an impeachment trial will result. He will be impeached.)

Alvarez said that since Bautista said that he would resign at the end of the year, he could still be impeached.

“May possibility na i-reverse ang decision ng committee. If that happens, he would be considered impeached. Diretso na yan sa impeachment court. Bago kami mag-deliberate sa plenary eh [kung]nag-resign na sya [at this very minute], ano pa ang pag-uusapan namin dyan, paano namin i-impeach ang taong nag-resign na? Pero habang di pa sya resigned, pwede pa syang i-impeach,” Alvarez said.

(There is a possibility that the decision of the committee will be reversed…. It will go straight to the impeachment court. Before we deliberate at the plenary, if he resigns right this minute, what will we talk about? How can we impeach an official who has resigned? But as long as he is not yet resigned, he can still be impeached.)

Earlier on Wednesday, Bautista posted a photo on his official Twitter account declaring his resignation.

“To my Comelec family, 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 statement read.

Former Negros Oriental Rep. Jacinto Paras and lawyer Ferdinand Topacio filed an impeachment complaint against, accusing him of betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution.

According to the complaint, Bautista allegedly neglected his duty as Comelec chairman following a hacking incident that revealed voters’ personal information during the 2016 national elections.

The impeachment complaint was then dismissed by the House committee on justice after being deemed “insufficient in form and substance” since the verification was defective.

“The May 2016 automated national and local elections are a testament to our collective sacrifices and teamwork, as it was hailed by independent local and foreign observers as the best managed and most credible in our electoral history,” Bautista said in his statement.

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