A CATHOLIC Church-backed poll watchdog lauded the decision of Commission on Election’s (Comelec) chair Andy Bautista to resign from his post.
PPCRV chairperson Rene Sarmiento said Bautista’s act of courtesy to resign by the end of the year is “laudable and praiseworthy”.
“For one, it will enable the Comelec to act as one and purposely fulfill its mandate under the 1987 Constitution,” Sarmiento said.
Bautista announced his decision on Wednesday, less than a month after the House justice committee junked an impeachment complaint against him over his alleged unexplained wealth.
His wife, Patricia, alleged that he amassed nearly P1 billion in ill-gotten wealth—which the poll body chief denied.
Bautista said it was not an easy decision but he wants to devote more time to his family.
Sarmiento said the country will be the “ultimate beneficiary” of Bautista’s resignation “because it will mean focused attention on the part of the Comelec to pursue and design inclusively creative electoral reforms”.
“For another, it will mean more time for Chairman Andy Bautista to bond with his children. No substitute for father-children enjoying quality and quantity time,” he said.
Opposition Rep. Edcel Lagman accused the administration of expediting the impeachment proceedings against Comelec chairman Bautista in order for the President to appoint his ally.
According to Lagman, it is premature for the House of Representatives to prepare the articles of impeachment since the committee on justice has only discussed the sufficiency in form of the impeachment complaint.
“There is inordinate haste on the part of the Duterte administration to end the tenure of Bautista to enable the President to appoint his chosen Chairman of the Comelec,” Lagman said.
During the Wednesday plenary session, the House voting 1/3 of all members, overturned the recommendation of the committee on justice to dismiss the case due to insufficiency in form and substance.
But Lagman, a veteran lawmaker, said that what the plenary can overturn is the recommendation on insufficiency of the complaint, lack of sufficient grounds or absence of probable cause.
This is clearly stated in Section 11 of Rule III of the House Rules on Impeachment regarding the disposition by the Plenary of the recommendation for dismissal of the impeachment complaint.
“In the above cases, the rejection of the recommendation for dismissal triggers the preparation of the Articles of Impeachment by the Committee on Justice because the very substance of the complaint is effectively upheld by the requisite number of 1/3 of the members,” Lagman said.
He further explained that when the recommendation for dismissal is due to insufficiency in form, which is rejected by at least 1/3 of the membership of the House, the plenary must perforce refer back the impeachment complaint to the Committee on Justice for further proceedings, unless meanwhile at least 1/3 of the House membership endorses the impeachment complaint or signs the articles of impeachment.
In the case of the impeachment complainant against Bautista, Lagman said that what was voted upon and rejected was the Committee’s recommendation for dismissal based on insufficiency of form.
“Verily, it is premature to require the Committee on Justice to prepare the Articles of Impeachment considering that there is no determination yet by the Committee on the substance and sufficiency of the complaint,” he also said.